Benedict Cumberbatch rules Toronto fest

05:00 AM, Sep 09, 2013

Benedict Cumberbatch attends the premiere of '12 Years A Slave' on Sept. 6. Todd Williamson, Invision for Fox Searchlight/


Written By by Andrea Mandell, USA TODAY

TORONTO — It’s unquestionable that Benedict Cumberbatch is the man of the moment at the International Film Festival. Not that it doesn’t come with a price.

It’s great. I wish I could enjoy the moment a bit more, (but) that’s always the thing, isn’t it?” says Cumberbatch, ensconced in a hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton. It’s a gorgeous fall day outside, but with three prestigious movies to promote (Julian Assange biopic The Fifth Estate, the Steve McQueen-directed slavery film Twelve Years a Slave and August: Osage County) the closest he’s getting to the great outdoors is by squinting.

I can see it through the crack in the door,” says the star, who may tie Oprah for how many interviews a human is capable of participating in (on Saturday alone he topped out at 64).

Cumberbatch grins, shrugs. “High-class problems.”

And no matter that his fans (“Cumberladies,” as he politely rephrases the more crass term) are clamoring for him on the sidewalks. “I still get star-struck,” he says. “Whether it’s Sandra Bullock or Nicole Kidman. I met Brad (Pitt) backstage at Twelve Years a Slave two nights ago. I really liked meeting him.”

So far, Assange has yet to react to the finished Fifth Estate, which depicts his life and launch of WikiLeaks, although at one point he contacted Cumberbatch via e-mail “imploring me not to do the film,” says the actor. Cumberbatch says he replied at length, assuring Assange he wasn’t out to demonize him. The WikiLeaks founder thanked him, but the two never met. Now, as the film gears up for its Oct. 18 release, “The criticism that hurts the most is that we are on one side or the other,” Cumberbatch says.