Benedict Cumberbatch: “I know for certain I’m doing Hamlet sometime in autumn on the London stage”

The Sherlock actor confirms he will fulfil a long-held dream to play Shakespeare's tragic hero when he returns to the West End in 2014


2013 was a career-changing year for Benedict Cumberbatch but his 2014 is already shaping up nicely too… 


The Sherlock actor has confirmed he is to play Hamlet in the West End next autumn – the realisation of a long-held dream to bring Shakespeare’s iconic character to life.

When asked in an interview with USA Today about his plans for next year, Cumberbatch replied, “I know for certain I’m doing Hamlet sometime in autumn on the London stage, and before that there are all sorts of film projects flying around, but the one that looks most real at the moment is Lost City of Z with James Gray” – a film 37-year-old was rumoured to be starring in last September.

The British actor’s name has been connected with the Shakespeare play for years. In mid 2012, at the age of 35, he was quoted as saying “I hope to return to the theatre soon, hopefully as Hamlet, as it’s a role I’ve been interested in for a long time.

“I don’t know if there is such a thing as a right age to play the part, but 36 or 37 seems appropriate to me, so I need to do it before long.”

Scholars reckon the character of Hamlet to have been around 33 during Shakespeare’s play, but Cumberbatch’s contemporary David Tennant played the part of the Danish prince to rave reviews aged 37.

Cumberbatch’s Hamlet will mark the first time he’s appeared on the London stage since he starred opposite Jonny Lee Miller in Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein back in early 2011 – a performance that won him Olivier and Evening Standard Theatre Awards. 

The autumn production of Hamlet will no doubt become one of the hottest tickets of the year, with Cumberbatch following in the footsteps of John Gielgud and Jude Law as well as Tennant in taking on the ambitious part.

Lyndsey Turner is rumoured to be on board to direct the performance, with Sonia Friedman reported to be producing. Further casting details are yet to be announced.