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The Grinch's Benedict Cumberbatch on his pet festive peeves


Benedict Cumberbatch is mean, green and ready to joyfully The Grinch.

The English actor, 42, has played cantankerous genius types, from Marvel's Doctor Strange to Sherlock Holmes. But Cumberbatch knew he was stepping up that game revisiting the conniving grinch from Theodor Seuss Geisel's (aka Dr. Seuss) children's book and the classic Chuck Jones 1966 TV special How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

"That's the joy: Vicariously or not, you get a thrill out of some of his meanness," says Cumberbatch, speaking by phone from New York. But there's Grinch love, too, in the new version. We talked to a surprisingly joyful Cumberbatch about donning Christmas sweaters, driving like a Grinch and what makes him crazy during the holidays.

Even Benedict Cumberbatch admits that justifying the Grinch's decision

Illumination and Universal Pictu

Even Benedict Cumberbatch admits that justifying the Grinch's decision to steal from the children is "a pretty hard sell at Christmas".

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The Grinch opens in New Zealand cinemas on November 29.

Sensitive actors will hate that call saying, "You're the perfect Grinch!" How did that go down?

I have my moments But, I thought, "Christ, it's a bit early for being a grinch, is not it?" One of my first questions, all seriousness was, why me? They said, "We love your voice". So I gave them a Grinch voice, quite animal-y with an American dialect. They went, "No, we'd like you" Then I got it. They saw a correlation between casting Benedict Cumberbatch as the Grinch. They saw Sherlock, and outsiders, somewhat socially awkward, who can occasionally rude I said, "I might not be the right guy". I did not have a film with an English Grinch. It's got to be a American.

Is your argument undermined by the fact that English actor Boris Karloff voiced the Grinch in the original TV special with a British accent?

Did he? I have not seen the original I love the book but is not seen either of the other versions (the TV special or the 2000 Jim Carrey movie). I'm looking forward to watching them now, I'm free of them. But there is something classically American in the rhyming scheme that lends itself too much to an American accent.

Benedict Cumberbatch says that, unlike the Grinch, he's

Charles Sykes

Benedict Cumberbatch says that, unlike the Grinch, he's "somewhere in a happy English, cynical, medium place" about Christmas.

Do people understand that the Grinch is a luster in some areas, such as his stance against Christmas commercialism?

He's proven right and wrong But when you start stealing toys from kids, it does not go down so well. That's a pretty hard sell at Christmas.

Does the Grinch offer freedom to be grumpy over the holidays?

There are certain things I've had a shop on the Christmas season, with the holiday track repeating. It drives you insane And your Christmas spirit gets really, really tested I'm not as high as Christmas as the Whos of Whoville. But I'm not as Grinch I'm somewhere in a happy English, cynical

What holiday aspect brings your Grinch?

Definitely plastic winds up on Christmas with the amount of waste and short-term joy. Beyond that, I'm human behind the wheel. Everybody gets lost in their world and feels like they are driving on Mount Crumpit and the world is at fault. I can get Grinchy in a car I get quite Grinchy when I'm hangy or jet-lagged That happens. But I do not have too much to get Grinchy about, honestly. And I love


Discover some fascinating facts about Dr Seuss' The Grinch with this selection of Grinch Trivia

Did you ever pull the Grinch card, get grumpy while recording?

I prepped for this by getting too grinchy about doing another recording session, saying the same line 500 times. That's enough to put you in the grinch spirit But it was always a joy going in the Soho recording studio. There was a healthy breakfast shot of something green-looking with a bit of ginger. I've got one to get my green on, go downstairs with a smile on my face and then get cracking.

Christmas is a great time for villains Who's your favorite?

Hans Gruber in Die Hard. It is a Christmas film in my book

Christmas controversy! Others?

Bill Murray in Scrooged. A wonderful anti-hero instead of a villain. That's one of my favorite movie closing numbers, Put A Little Love In Your Heart. Great song

The Grinch is the third adaptation of Dr. Seuss' beloved 1957 book How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

The Grinch is the third adaptation of Dr. Seuss' beloved 1957 book How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Would you play Scrooge?

I have been offered in the past I want to talk about offers Maybe. It's a story Superlatively.

Have you ever worn a Christmas sweater?

Never Not knowingly anyway I woke up and said,

So you're anti-Christmas sweater?

I'm not anti-Christmas sweater. I would just like to

What is the name of the holidays?

Only (fill in the number) No, to be honest, I've been working on the last few holiday seasons, I'm looking at the rainbow: family and friends behind a closed door with no other demands. That is the only Christmas present

The Grinch (G) opens in New Zealand cinemas on December 7th.

USA Today

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