Benedict Cumberbatch on Elementary: “I’m a bit cynical about why they’ve chosen to do it”

Parade's End star hints that he's not altogether thrilled with the idea of the upcoming American Sherlock Holmes adaptation


Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch has hinted that he’s not over the moon about the imminent arrival of Elementary, the modern-day Sherlock Holmes adaptation that’s being produced by CBS in the States. In fact, he admitted: “I’m a bit cynical about why they’ve chosen to do it.”


The Parade’s End star revealed that he’d spoken with Elementary’s British lead actor Jonny Lee Miller in the lead-up to the CBS show going into production and told Miller his misgivings.

He said: “Jonny asked me if I was all right with him doing it.  I said, ‘What are the similarities?’ And he went, ‘Well it’s modern…’ I went, ‘Oh.’ Then he said, ‘Lucy Liu’s going to play Joan Watson…’ And I went, ‘Oh.’

“I did say, ‘Well, I’d prefer you didn’t do it but you’ve got a kid to feed, a nice house in LA and a wife to keep in good clothes.’ When you get used to a certain standard of living and they waft a pay cheque at you, what are you going to do?

“I wish him the best of luck, but I’m a bit cynical about why they’ve chosen to do it and why they cast him.”

However Cumberbatch also revealed while speaking to Shortlist that he doesn’t think Elementary’s existence will pose any threat to his own career.

“I don’t feel threatened by it and I wish him the best, which is as diplomatic as I can be,” said the 36-year-old.

The comments seem to fly in the face of an assertion Miller made earlier this year when, speaking at Comic Con in the States, he said: “[Cumberbatch] was excited for me and he was very encouraging and we discussed it.”

Elementary is due to make its TV debut in the States on Thursday 27 September and will air in the UK on Sky Living shortly after.


Benedict Cumberbatch is currently on starring in Parade’s End on BBC2, which goes out at 9:00pm on Fridays.