Benedict Cumberbatch doesn’t have a problem telling it like he sees it, and in a recent interview for his new movie The Imitation Game, which premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival, he had some rather interesting things to say about ISIS, politics, and homophobia.
If you don’t know him, you should. One of the hottest actors at this time, Benedict Cumberbatch is known for being plainly spoken and not beating about the bushes. He has gotten in some hot water in the past for his bluntness, most famously when he called the mega popular period drama Downton Abbey “atrocious,” angering millions of fans. He later retracted and said he was joking.
Must be that dry British sense of humor. Now he is causing waves of a more political kind after making some comments in an interview with the Daily Beast. Cumberbatch plays British World War II codebreaker Alan Turing, who is credited with cracking the German Enigma code and ending the long-lasting conflict. Later on, he was discovered to be gay.
The Enigma code allowed the Allies to have access to the once impenetrable Nazi code, which in turn resulted in them being able to identify the location and whereabouts of the German Navy. Winston Churchill later admitted that Turing made the single most important contribution to end the war.
Benedict Cumberbatch gives a heartbreaking rendition of the tragic story of the man who helped end one of the most brutal wars in history. In 1952 Turing was convicted of “indecency” because he was homosexual, which was a crime in the U.K. in those days. He took his own life in 1954 after he was forced to choose chemical castration.
According to Cumberbatch, the chemical castration so eloquently depicted in The Imitation Game is fueled by America’s “Christian far right” and still goes on to this day.
“There are courses and doctors and meds handed out to ‘cure’ people of their homosexuality, and it’s shocking that it still goes on. It’s also shocking that any time there’s any kind of hardship, the minorities are immediately scapegoated—and that includes homosexuals in Russia, the Golden Dawn in Greece.”
Turning to politics in the U.S., Benedict Cumberbatch thinks that now that Americans have elected a black President in Barack Obama, they need to next elect a woman, and then someone gay. And speaking of gays, Ben shared some more interesting things about going to an all male boarding school when he was young and his experience with homophobia.
“In an all-male boarding school, in the olden days, it was seen as being something that ‘just happened’ since there were no girls, so you had a bit of an experience. But there was incredible homophobia at my school, to the point where two boys who were caught doing something were literally chased down the street.”
Cumberbatch also suggests that the the U.K. should allow Jihadists fighting with ISIS back into the country to better understand the group — who is responsible for beheading American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and posting the videos online — instead of throwing bombs on them.
“Yeah. A retired intelligence officer was talking today about how we should let returning Jihadists regain entrance into the U.K. Why wouldn’t we want to learn from them what the hell is going on over there? What made them want to do it? Who recruited them, and how to stop the recruiting? What, we just shut the problem out? Yes, I understand that it stems from a security concern that one of those returning radicals could then carry a bomb onto public transport, but if it’s managed—and I think with those who are known, how could it not be managed?—how would we not benefit from them being reabsorbed back into our culture?”
To read the entire Benedict Cumberbatch interview, click here. Let us know what you think about his views in the space below.
[Image via Black Bear Pictures]