Whatever industry you work in, it’s always handy to have friends with a bit of influence – as Sacha Dhawan discovered while working with Benedict Cumberbatch on Sherlock.
Dhawan (who played Mary’s former colleague Ajay in the opening episode of Sherlock series four) and his Sherlock co-star were taking a break from a gruelling fight scene when talk turned to other projects, and Dhawan revealed to the Doctor Strange star that he was also up for a part in a Marvel franchise…
“When I was on Sherlock, I was in the midst of auditioning for Marvel,” Dhawan told RadioTimes.com. “We had a huge fight scene that took about three days to shoot [and involved a swimming pool]. And obviously in between takes where they’re setting up, me and Benedict would be sitting in a warm tent in absolutely soaking clothes. We had lots of time so we’d just chat and stuff. And I knew he’d done Doctor Strange, and he was asking ‘Oh, what are you doing next?’
“And I said ‘Actually Benedict I’m testing tomorrow for [Netflix series] Iron Fist,” and he went ‘Oh right, ok, great!’ And then pulled out his phone and started typing away on his phone. And I thought ‘that’s a bit rude!’ And he went, ‘By the way, I’m just emailing a contact at Marvel.’
“And I went ‘Oh!’ And he went ‘yeah yeah, I’ve put a good word in for you.’ And I said ‘Oh no, no, you don’t have to do that!’ and he went ‘No it’s my pleasure, I love working with you.’
“And then when we were filming, we’d just had a big punch-up in that scene and he then said ‘they’ve e-mailed me back, and they’ll pass on the message’.”
Clearly, Dhawan’s acting talent and physical prowess were the main reasons he landed the role of Iron Fist’s foe Davos – aka the Steel Serpent – in the martial arts series. But even he admits, it can’t have hurt to be bigged up by Cumberbatch.
“I could obviously say hey, maybe Benedict got me the part,” said Dhawan. “But [either way] he really helped get the word through that I’m coming to test, and that he enjoyed working with me. And I know he has a bit of clout as Sherlock, you know. Maybe that tipped the balance…”