Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch has heaped praise on his co-star Martin Freeman, calling him “extraordinary” and revealing that one performance in particular reduced him to tears.
Auditions for the part of John Watson took place after Cumberbatch had already been cast as the detective. Talking about the process, Cumberbatch said “We met some amazing actors – all of them were really, really good and brought something extraordinary to the part – but when Martin walked in I just felt my game go whooop! I completely did.
“What he has is no small talent,” Cumberbatch told an audience at the Cheltenham Literary Festival. “He can ground this extraordinary, extravagant character [of Sherlock] – he can give a realistic context to something that’s otherwise quite fantastical.”
Fans may be able to guess which of Freeman’s performances made his co-star cry – Cumberbatch is certainly not alone in having shed a tear during the mobile phone conversation at the end of series two finale The Reichenbach Fall, in which John tries to persuade Sherlock not to jump from the roof of St Bart’s hospital.
“I couldn’t see Martin’s face [during filming] obviously,” said Cumberbatch, “he was just a little blob on the pavement, waiting for a bigger blob to land by his feet… [but later] it was really wonderful to see what he’d done on the other end of that phone conversation – I could hear it [at the time] but to see it was really, really, really moving and, him being in shock afterwards, it’s ridiculous but it made me cry.”