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27 things that Benedict Cumberbatch said as he turns 40

British actor Benedict Cumberbatch was born on 19 July 1976, best known for his role in the BBC television show Sherlock and other blockbuster movies such as War Horse, Star Trek: Into the Darkness and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. On his 40th birthday, we want to share 27 things Benedict said, from his name to fame, from acting to life:

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On his name:
“Cumberbatch - it sounds like a fart in a bath, doesn't it? What a fluffy old name. I can never say it on a Monday morning. When I became an actor, Mum wasn't keen on me keeping it.”

 

On charming:
"The more charming person is the person who admits the other person is more charming."

 

On sexy:
"A woman who knows that she doesn't have to get all decked out to look good is sexy. A woman who can make you feel smart with her conversation skills is also sexy. I believe the sense of humor is important."

 

On his fascination with hands:
"People's hands fascinate me. It's tempting to look at a businessman's left hand and see if there's an indentation from a missing wedding ring. Or maybe there's a tan line and the skin is pressed down where's he's worked a ring off his finger."

 

On reading:
"I can feel infinitely alive curled up on the sofa reading a book."

Why?
"Because reading is one of the joys of life, and once you begin, you can't stop, and you've got so many stories to look forward to."

 

On social situations:
"I'm not confident in social situations; just going up to someone in a bar and saying 'Hi' is going to be even more difficult because they won't know the real me. They will just know me as a fictional person I play on the screen."

 

On fame:
"Fame is a weird one. You need to distance yourself from it. People see a value in you that you don't see yourself."

"It does get strange when you realize people will hang around for hours to get a glimpse of you doing scenes outside."

"I got live tweeted once by someone who was opposite my home in some rented accommodation. He was actually describing on Twitter what I was doing. 'I took a shirt off, I went to the window, I put a shirt back on... ' And I've got blinds in my flat!"

"I'm still very sensitive and wary of people recognising me... The only thing that really annoys me is people trying to surreptitiously take a photo on their phone without asking. I feel it's cowardly and a bit pathetic. Just ask me if you really want me to have a photograph with you."

"One of the fears of having too much work is not having time to observe. And once you get recognised, there is nowhere for you to look any more. You can't sit on a night bus and watch it all happen."

"We all want to escape our circumstances, don't we? Especially if you are an actor."

"You can't imagine fame. You can only ever see it from an outsider and comment on it with the rueful wisdom of a non participant. When it happens to you, it doesn't matter what age or how, it is a very steep learning curve. The important thing to realize in all of it is that life is short, to protect the ones you love, and not expose yourself to too much abuse or narcissistic reflection gazing and move on. If fame affords me the type of ability to do the kind of work I'm being offered, who am I to complain about the downsides. It's all relative. And this are obviously very high class problems. The way privacy becomes an every shrinking island is inevitable but also manageable and it doesn't necessary have to get that way..."

 

On selfies:
"What a tragic waste of engagement (selfies). Enjoy the moment. Do something more worthwhile with your time, anything. Stare out the window and think about life."

 

On humanity:
"'Frankenstein' was all about the idea that, through electricity and the destruction of night, man creating light and darkness, we took on god-like powers and then abused them like gods, and we are only men. That's a story about man making a man in his own image. The inversion of natural order."

 

On acting:
"As an actor, you are aware of how a role can seep into your real life."

 

On intepreting characters:
"I think with any characterization there's a point where you empathize, no matter how much of a deviance his or her actions may be from your understanding of humanity."

 

On coping with expectations:
"Someone will always hate what I say. There's always going to be somebody spitting blood about my wooden-faced, toffee-named, crappy acting."

"If you have an over-preoccupation with perception and trying to please people's expectations, then you can go mad."

 

On taking on challenges:
"The further you get away from yourself, the more challenging it is. Not to be in your comfort zone is great fun."

 

On life:
"Our daily lives are so mundane, we get taken over by what is immediately in front of us and we don't see beyond that."

"Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I'm also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated."

"I have an appetite for the normal in my life, as well as the abnormal."

"Looking for happiness is a sure way to sadness, I think. You have to take each moment as it comes."

 

On relationships:
"Metaphorically speaking, it’s easy to bump into one another on the journey from A to B and not even notice. People should take time to notice, enjoy and help each other."

"I've realised now that the reality of children is you have to be in the right place with the right person."

 

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