Benedict Cumberbatch reflects on his “ludicrous” Netflix character
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Benedict Cumberbatch reflects on his "ludicrous" Netflix character

Any actor with designs on a lengthy career is obligated to try their hand at playing as many different characters as possible, with Benedict Cumberbatch describing his latest as one of the most “ludicrous” figures he’s ever played on-screen.

That’s quite the statement considering the two-time Academy Award nominee has spent a large amount of time standing in front of a greenscreen waving his hands around and relaying nonsensical mystical exposition as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s ‘Sorcerer Supreme’ Doctor Strange, but running around the streets of New York City dressed in a monster costume sounds as though it takes the biscuit.

Cumberbatch stars as Vincent and also serves as an executive producer on Netflix’s upcoming miniseries Eric, a dramatic psychological thriller where he plays a puppeteer and father of a nine-year-old boy who goes missing. As a result, the mental toll it takes on the actor’s Vincent alienates him from those around him, before he decides that dressing as the seven-foot tall titular creature is the best chance of being reunited with his son.

Not only does Eric use the monster originally drawn by his missing child as a way to help him both process his grief and potentially lead to a reunion, but Eric even becomes a hallucination that follows him around during the times where he isn’t kitted head-to-toe in a stuffy suit.

Speaking to the BBC, Cumberbatch admitted that “it was one of the most ludicrous things I’ve ever done, and I’ve done a few.” Still, he found it to be a worthy experience. “It was fun, though, and painfully funny.” In balancing drama with dark comedy, Eric faces a tough tonal balancing act, with the leading man of the belief that despite its far-fetched nature, will speak to viewers on a human level.

“I don’t want to play people who get the green thumbs up or red thumbs down. I think we all live in a grey area,” he said. “There’s good and bad in all of us. That’s what makes us human. And this is an extreme, admittedly, but there’s a huge deal of pain behind the pain Vincent causes.”

All six episodes of Eric will premiere on Netflix on May 30th, 2024, and it’s sure to be another small screen tour-de-force from Cumberbatch, who might see history repeat itself after he earned Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy nominations the last time he headlined a television miniseries in 2018’s Patrick Melrose.