He's just received his first Golden Globe nomination -- for Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie for the BBC drama "Sherlock" -- he's playing Smaug the dragon in Peter Jackson's "Hobbit" movies, and he's been revealed as the big baddie in J.J. Abrams's May 2013 "Star Trek" sequel, "Star Trek into Darkness."
But the best thing about Benedict Cumberbatch: it's just so fun to say his name.
During a 2011 appearance on the British talk show "Chatty Man," Cumberbatch poked a little fun at his moniker himself, saying it sounds "like a fart in a bath" (we actually think it sounds more like some exotic vegetable), and sharing with host Alan Carr a not-fit-for-print nickname given to him by naughty classmates when he was a kid.
For fans, though, the quirky name is certainly a big part of his appeal, and his zealous female fans write him letters, show up on the "Sherlock" set, and have taken to referring to themselves as "Cumberb------."
"I think it's set feminism back quite a few years," the star, whose hefty full name is Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch, joked to Carr. "They're very loyal, (and), unlike the name, a very unspooky bunch of very nice girls who have written to me and said, 'We don't mean to scare you, we just like your work.'"
As for the many future opportunities Cumberb------ will have to utter his name and continue enjoying his work, a third season of "Sherlock" is tentatively scheduled to debut in fall 2013. Cumberbatch's Smaug is the title character in the second of Jackson's "Hobbit" movies -- 2013's "The Desolation of Smaug" -- and then there's May 17's "Trek" flick.
Rumors had persisted that Cumberbatch would be playing legendary "Trek" villain Khan -- as in "Wrath of" fame -- but the actor squashed that suggestion in an interview with "Access Hollywood" this week.
"I play a character called John and not that other name," Cumberbatch said. "I play John Harrison, who's a terrorist and an extraordinary character in his own right. He's somebody who is not your two-dimensional cookie cutter villain. He's got an extraordinary purpose, and I hope that at one point or other in the film you might even sympathize with the reasons he's doing what he's doing … not necessarily the means and the destruction he causes.
"But it was a great ride, not just because he's the bad guy and the antagonist, but also because he has a purpose, and it's hard not to see his point of view at certain points."
But back to the name -- which, of course, earned the actor his own entry on The Blog of Funny Names -- the "Sherlock" star is at his most endearing when he takes pleasure in the fun and frivolity his name sparks. In his "Chatty Man" spot, he mentions he's aware of the fact that "Cumberbatch" is now even used as a verb in England, where he has "Cumberbatched the audience." And yes, that's a good thing … it means "something ordinary has been immediately made more awesome," writes a Cumberbatch-elor (hey, it's nicer than Cumberb----) at the FilmFancy blog.
For another example of the rising star's sense of humor, check out his impersonation of fellow British actor Alan Rickman singing Elton John (i.e., Severus Snape sings "Candy in the Wind):