Share Sexy, Smart and Charming: Book Characters That Benedict Cumberbatch Made Better

Sexy, Smart and Charming: Book Characters That Benedict Cumberbatch Made Better

From Christopher Tietjens to Smaug and Sherlock has any actor managed to bring to life so many roles from great literature quite so well and winningly as Benedict Cumberbatch? I think publishers around the world – not to mention the BBC and PBS – owe him big time.

Parade's End
by Ford Maddox Ford

Widely considered one of the best novels of the twentieth century Parade's End explores the world of the English ruling class as it descends into the chaos of the first World War. In the BBC/PBS mini-series a blonde Benedict portrays Christopher Tietjens an officer from a wealthy family who is torn between his unfaithful socialite wife, Sylvia, and his suffragette mistress, Valentine. Heartbreaking, terrifying and beautiful.

Small Island
by Andrea Levy

The interlocking stories of Bernard, a timid British man, his wife, Queenie, and Jamaican immigrants, Hortense and Gilbert. A courageous novel that tells, with tender emotion and sparkling wit, the cost of lost opportunities and the price of love. Benedict is heartbreaking as the stumbling Bernard in the BBC/PBS series. You just want to shake him and hug him at the same time.

Rites of Passage
by William Golding

This first book in the great sea trilogy won the Man Booker in 1980. The extraordinary story of a warship's troubled journey to Australia in the early 1800s. The trilogy was adapted into the BBC/Masterpiece series, To The Ends of The Earth, and starred Benedict. The sun wasn't the only thing blisteringly hot on that ship.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
by John le Carre

After a disastrously botched mission in Hungary forces Control's resignation, George Smiley is brought out of retirement to hunt for the Soviet double agent embedded at the top of the British secret service. As Peter Guillam, the handpicked assistant that Smiley believes he can trust, a blonde Benedict holds his own against a stellar cast.

The Hobbit
by J. R. R. Tolkien

The enchanted adventure tale of Middle Earth, Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, Smaug the Magnificent and, of course, the Ring. The classic that has thrilled millions and launched two film franchises. Who but Mr. Cumberbatch could have voiced that dragon?

by Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan’s symphonic novel of love and war, childhood and class, guilt and forgiveness provides all the satisfaction of a brilliant narrative and the provocation we have come to expect from this master of English prose. Benedict is the icky Paul Marshall. His scene with the candy bar is worth every penny.

12 Years a Slave
by Solomon Northup

The story that inspired the Oscar winning Best Picture of the year, this first person account is a harrowing, vividly detailed, and utterly unforgettable account of slavery. Benedict portrays a minister who understands the immorality of owning another human being but does not stop. Offered an opportunity to save Solomon he instead hands him to the devil.

The Other Boleyn Girl
by Philippa Gregory
Although Mary was the first Boleyn to share Henry VIII's bed, it was her sister, Anne, who snagged the King and wore the crown. A rich tale of love, sex, ambition, and intrigue. In the film, Benedict plays Mary's husband, William Carey, who allows, and benefits from, Mary's relationship with the king. The scene where he betrays their love is heartbreaking.

War Horse
by Michael Morpurgo

The story of the abiding love between the farm horse, Joey, and Albert, the boy who raised him. Sold to the English Army at the beginning of WWI, Joey is wrenched from Albert and shipped into battle. Benedict plays the officer who buys Joey and in his moments with Albert he brings a perfect upper class noblesse oblige tinged with genuine kindness. He is by far the best human in the film.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Where would we - and Benedict for that matter - be without Sherlock? The complete works are truly great fun. Start reading now so you are ready when Benedict brings back his high-functioning sociopath for season 4 and we find out if he really did miss Moriarty.

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