Benedict Cumberbatch: ‘It’s a hell of a role playing Vote Leave boss’

PUBLISHED: 09:23 12 December 2018 | UPDATED: 09:23 12 December 2018

Benedict Cumberbatch will play Vote Leave boss Dominic Cummings. Photograph: Isabel Infantes/PA.

Benedict Cumberbatch will play Vote Leave boss Dominic Cummings. Photograph: Isabel Infantes/PA.

PA Archive/PA Images

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch has appeared in The Hobbit, Avengers and Star Trek - but perhaps his most surreal role so far will be in a film about Brexit.

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The Remainer actor is set to play the Brexiteer Dominic Cummings in Channel 4 film Brexit: The Uncivil War.

Speaking about the role in an interview with Cummings’ wife, Mary Wakefield, he said that the whole referendum campaign was like “the most extraordinary story” which read like a “thriller”.

He said: “I took the role because of the script.

“I’ve been a big fan of British playwright James Graham from This House onwards and I thought, how extraordinary that I’m reading a script that reads like a thriller, when I know the outcome.

“I’m being sucked into it - these characters, their intelligence, the wit of it, the emotional power of the drama. I realised this is what drama can do at its best.

“At the time you don’t have foresight to understand the significance of these events. They just happen, then lo and behold.

“The campaign was the most extraordinary story, one of the most extraordinary stories in all the history of politics.

“It really encapsulated that for me. It’s a hell of a role playing your husband!”

Cumberbatch and Sir Patrick Stewart led more than 280 actors, musicians and artists in calling on the UK to vote to stay.

The Sherlock star said in the interview - which appears in the Spectator - he now felt a responsibility to accurately portray the architects of the Brexit vote, especially those who were not politicians and were therefore outside the public eye.

Cumberbatch singled out Cummings and Sir Craig Oliver, the former BBC journalist who served as director of communications for David Cameron during the referendum, as figures important to the film.

He said: “I think you kind of have a responsibility. People know more about the politicians that were in the public eye during that campaign, rather than those on the other side like Craig Oliver and Dom.

“It does feel like a responsibility to get him right.”

The film is expected to air on Channel 4 in January.

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Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press with your support. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

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