Benedict Cumberbatch

The second film in the Auerbach series is Adaptation, centered around one of the most prominent male stars of the 2000s, Benedict Cumberbatch. 

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These photos were taken for GQ UK in 2014, when Cumberbatch was in the heat of his fame, coming off Season 3 of the acclaimed BBC adaptation of Sherlock. He was in Boston, filming Scott Cooper’s Black Mass—the Whitey Bulger crime drama with Johnny Depp—so expectations were great, time was of the essence, and timing—as ever—eternal. 

Cumberbatch arrived at the shoot unescorted and unattended, in an immaculately tailored suit, with only a scarf for a prop. Simplicity is his elegance, which is not to say he is in any way staid. Of the models featured in Accursed Share’s Auerbach series, he is the most animated, and his process photos show a man who finds great joy in movement and who likes to have fun with the camera. Auerbach, of course, reciprocates, and what is captured in this session is a sort of dance at a distance between both men, conducted with vim and kinetic good humour. 

There is an insuppressibility to Cumberbatch that borders on uproariousness but never steps on toes. His uncanny physical self-mastery, best appreciated in his work for theatre—think of his alternating roles as Victor and the Creature in Danny Boyle’s 2011 Frankenstein—is fully manifest in this outstanding shoot. 

Auerbach grasps the corybant in Cumberbatch in a photo session that is reminiscent of Robert Longo’s Men in the Cities, had that series been not about urban alienation, but premised on sheer, dramatic exultance.

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Posts in this series

Timeless: Sharon Stone

Efficiency: Mike Tyson

Announcing Captured Moment: The Master’s Process