Sherlock: Benedict Cumberbatch reveals he almost turned down role, and Rupert Graves admits he wanted it!

by Anna Howell
sherlock and lestrade

sherlock and lestrade

Try to imagine Sherlock without Benedict Cumberbatch? Try and imagine if instead of Rupert Graves, who plays Inspector Lestrade had played him instead? Well, that could well have been the case!

Benedict Cumberbatch has revealed that he almost turned down the now infamous London detective role, which has shot him to global fame as a result, whilst Rupert Graves has admitted he wished he had been cast as Sherlock!

In a recent Entertainment Weekly interview the dashing British actor admitted that his hesitation in accepting the role, which is now a household name, was because of the history of the iconic character, explaining:

“This was before I had had any significant success [but] I knew there would still be a lot of focus on it. And while I had done work, it wasn’t stepping into the populist limelight like playing a character like Holmes. So I did have a pause for thought,”

But when presented with the opportunity to read for the part, he decided to give it a go after seeing how passionate the crew for the show were, explaining:

“I thought, If I’m going to do this, if I’m going to step into the limelight with a large leading role of iconic status, then I might as well do it these people,

“They know what they’re doing and I completely trust them. I felt like I was being asked to join the family and have some fun. There was nothing businessy about it. And that’s how to operate it.”

sherlock lestrade rupert graves

Meanwhile Rupert Graves, who plays Inspector Lestrade in the hit BBC detective series, has admitted that he would have jumped at the chance to have been offered Cumberbatch’s now infamous role.

Addressing the new series of Sherlock, which ended on our screens last weekend, Graves took to his Daily Mail column to insist that, whilst the entire nation were on the edge of their seats waiting to find out just how Sherlock had managed to fake his own death at the end of series two, he was as clueless as the rest of us, explaining:

“When I told them [press] I didn’t know, it was the truth. And as much as I asked, nudged, and twisted arms to find out, no one would tell me anything until the scripts were finished. There’s a culture of secrecy around them which is absolutely right, even it if it is infuriating.

“The scripts for the third series arrived at my North London home last spring, and if you’d been the kind of Sherlock-obsessive who listens at doors, you would have heard a mixture of ‘Wow’, ‘Oh my God!’ and ‘I can’t believe you did that!’.

“The scripts arrived just a couple of days before our first read-through at a rundown church in Soho. It was the first time the cast had been in the same room together for two years, and we all got a bit giggly because we were so excited. It’s a lovely team — and the success of the show binds us together.”

sherlock lestrade 2

The actor then went on to reveal his thoughts upon joining the cast of one of Britain’s best exports, he continued:

“From the moment I read the very first Sherlock script, I knew I wanted to be involved. It was an astonishing, adrenalin-filled action story, without actually much action in it. The adrenalin is all verbal: it comes from Sherlock’s mouth. His reasoning and intelligence is almost like that of a superpower. I like being the character who anchors him into the real police world.”

On his own character, the actor mused how he finds his role less exciting than that of other cast member:

“I’m the hapless Inspector Lestrade, whose relationship with Sherlock is interesting. He both loves him and he resents him. It’s not really anything do to with class. He knows he needs Sherlock’s brilliance, and he is angry at himself for not being brilliant.

“He is quite out of his depth with Sherlock — and he knows it. He looks flummoxed a lot.

“I’ve never played a copper before, and not playing the upper-class boy for once is nice. Because my name is Rupert and I starred in some glossy Merchant Ivory films, people have always assumed I’m posh and put me up for those parts. It’s never something I’ve been comfortable with. For a long time I wanted to change my name to Michael.”

sherlock benedict cumberbatch rupert graves lestrade

On the shows main star, Benedict Cumberbatch, Graved confirmed what we already suspected, that he is the adorable gent we all imagine him to be, even if he is slightly envious of his fame, and role:

“I love working with Benedict and am full of admiration for him. He’ll have to learn three pages of speeches which are like verbal car chases — and I’ll just have to interject with the odd word, like ‘Exeter’.

“He has to work hugely long hours, but even when he’s doing night scenes after working all day, he’ll still be spinning around the room. It’s incredible. It’s like watching fireworks go off.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t admit there was a part of me that would have loved to have been Sherlock. After I’ve been on the show, I spend about a week pretending to be him. Did that woman have those shoes on before? If she changed them, why? What caused that scratch on that man’s face?

“But there are very few actors who could have played this version of Sherlock, and Benedict is the best of them. He has this very fast front-footed energy, which is perfect for this part. He always runs full pelt into a speech, and each take is always different. It does mean he occasionally stumbles, but what he does is brave; alive.”

Sherlock is due to begin production on its fourth series, as soon as possible according to show creator Steven Moffat – Watch a clip from series 3 below: