How Benedict Cumberbatch fell in love with puppeteering during Netflix thriller Eric

Virgin Radio

31 May 2024, 08:53

Benedict Cumberbatch in Eric

Credit: Getty / Netflix

Benedict Cumberbatch has admitted he never expected to love getting to grips with puppets in his new thriller, Eric. 

Created by BAFTA and Emmy Award winner Abi Morgan (The Split) and directed by This Is Going To Hurt’s Lucy Forbes, Eric focuses on Vincent (played by Benedict), whose young son Edgar disappears on his way to school in 80s New York. 

While losing grip on reality in his desperate search, the TV puppeteer tries to recreate a puppet using one of Edgar's drawings in the hope that putting it on TV will bring his son home.



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Eric is out on Netflix now, and Vincent’s battle with reality and the imaginary involved some very real puppets that Benedict had to learn how to use, as if a professional puppeteer. While not something he ever expected to be an expert on, the Sherlock star was more than happy to learn the ropes.

Speaking exclusively to at the recent UK premiere, Benedict admitted: “At 47, I mean, there's a reason why you could sort of fanny around and have fun with that at home or something, but no reason why I never thought I'd be doing it professionally. 

“I absolutely loved it,” he confessed. “It was marvellous, what a great gift to take home to a seven, five and nine year old.”

Benedict wasn’t the only one who had some apprehension before entering the world of Eric, with the creators also having some “nerves” about meeting with the Patrick Melrose star. 

He told us about first meeting the show’s creator, Abi Morgan: “I met Abi, and they thought I was going to be the archetypal sort of movie star t****r, I don't know, they were just very nervous according to what they've been telling me. And I hopefully wasn't that!”

Speaking of the creator Abi, she was keen to bust some myths about the surreal series, and revealed the truth behind Vincent’s story, and whether or not it's based on real life. 

“I don’t know where that myth has come from,” Abi revealed, putting the rumours to rest. “It's not at all actually.

Discussing where the whispers might’ve come from, the show’s mastermind revealed: “I think it probably started from this idea that I worked as a nanny for a while in New York in the mid 80s. I'd looked after a child and I suddenly had this idea of writing a show that was from the perspective of the child so that was at the heart of it, the birth of Edgar."

Going into detail about the core of Eric, Abi shared: “Edgar is a little boy who grows up in New York in the midst of a very dysfunctional marriage. He's watching his parents' marriage fall apart. 

“One day he goes missing while walking to school. Vincent, his father, one of America's leading puppeteers on the top puppet show for kids, goes on a quest to try and find him. And in finding him, you realise he's also on a journey to find himself.”

Eric is available to watch on Netflix now.