Benedict Cumberbatch on his 'new beginning' after being held at gunpoint

Kim Kardashian isn’t the only star in Hollywood whose found herself on the opposite end of a gun barrel. Benedict Cumberbatch opened up in a new interview with Vanity Fair’s November issue about his near-death experience over a decade ago.

Back in 2004, the Doctor Strange actor found himself in a harrowing situation in South Africa, where he was filming the BBC mini-series To the Ends of the Earth. Benedict along with two of his co-stars (Theo Landey and Denise Black) were jumped on a highway at night, after pulling over for a flat tire, following a scuba-diving training course.


Photo: Jason Bell

Six armed individuals robbed the trio, taking their phones and credit cards. The actors were then forced into a vehicle at gunpoint, with Benedict stuffed into the trunk at one point. When the robbers stopped under a bridge, the British star pleaded for his life as he crouched down execution-style, tied up in his own shoelaces. Thankfully in an unexpected twist, the criminals fled the scene and the BBC stars managed to find help after untying themselves.


Despite the terrifying ordeal, Benedict’s desire for adventure has further been fueled because of the incident. “I was definitely more impatient to live a life less ordinary,” he said. “I wanted to swim in the sea that I saw the next morning. If you feel you’re going to die, you don’t think you’re going to have all those sensations again—a cold beer, a cigarette, the feel of sun on your skin. All those hit you as firsts again. It is, in a way, a new beginning.”

Benedict added, “I think it just made me run at it a bit more recklessly.”

Photo: Doug Peters Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment

Though when it comes to finding adrenaline these days, the actor wants “to seek some thrills at home.” The 40-year-old, who is married to actress Sophie Hunter, welcomed his first child, Christopher Cumberbatch in 2015.

“Having a baby—it’s massive,” the dad-of-one admitted. “And on a very unexpected level. Suddenly I understood my parents much more profoundly than I ever had before.”


Benedict continued, “I was expecting, with Hamlet, that it might be a hindrance to be a father, because it’s all about being a son. But it’s the opposite. You understand much more about being a son, becoming a father.”

More about