Oh, Benedict Cumberbatch…
Not content with stealing our hearts as the antisocial corpse-beating smack addict Sherlock Holmes, he’s gone on to boss his way through various dimensions of the MCU as Doctor Strange, won a bevy of awards for the excellent Patrick Melrose and now, he’s apparently forging a new identity as a genuine crime-fighter, stepping in to stop a mugging.
The actor recounted the incident to Ellen Degeneres in an interview on her show recently, explaining what exactly went down:
“Basically what happened is…I saw a bicycle delivery guy getting surrounded by some guys on a very cold November night and I just stopped the Uber we were in and tried to calm the kids down…tried to calm him down because he looked like he was about to fight for his life. I didn’t really think twice about knives or acid or any of the other things that can be part of that situation, I literally got in the way… I also tried to stop traffic so they could witness it and if anything did happen that there were people there and that might scare any violence out of the situation.”
If I was getting mugged on a freezing London night and suddenly Benedict Cumberbatch was there saving my ass, I think I’d assume that I’d been hit in the head too hard and had begun hallucinating. What’s even weirder is that this took place just around the corner from Baker Street, the home of Sherlock Holmes himself.
A witness to the event recalled it in appropriately shocked terms, saying the following:
“Benedict was courageous, brave and selfless. If he hadn’t stepped in, the cyclist could have been seriously injured. Here was Sherlock Holmes fighting off four attackers just round the corner from Baker Street. He stood there instructing them in the street, shouting, ‘Leave him alone’.”
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But while the story makes Cumberbatch look great, this is the kind of thing that must give studio heads conniptions. After all, one of the last things you want your stars doing is putting themselves in unnecessary danger. In reflection, Cumberbatch agrees, calling his decision to intervene “a bit foolhardy” and that he didn’t give much thought to how dangerous this might be.
But hey, it looks like Benedict Cumberbatch learned the lesson that Spider-Man learned on that fateful night when Uncle Ben died – if you see injustice you shouldn’t sit on the sidelines and that with great (acting) power comes great responsibility.