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The world could use a little less garlic in its soul, and Benedict Cumberbatch is here to help. His new movie The Grinch shares a classic message that happens to also be especially timely. As the actor put it, in his own inimitable voice,
When he [the Grinch] realizes that Christmas isn't about materialism, it is about joy and kindness and generosity, he says love and kindness are the things we need most. And the world needs a lot of love and kindness at the moment.
It sounds like Benedict Cumberbatch's own heart grew three sizes just making the computer-animated movie, which is now open in theaters. The Grinch is based on Dr. Seuss' 1957 children's book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The 1966 TV special -- with Boris Karloff voicing the Grinch -- is a classic, and tough to live up to. The 2000 film starring Jim Carrey as The Grinch is might not be quite as critically beloved, but it made a ton of money at the box office.
Benedict Cumberbatch told CNN he liked the challenge of playing the Grinch, noting that it's not the first iconic character he's been asked to play, and he hopes it won't be the last. His self-confidence is well-earned, as well. He's already played real-life icons like Thomas Edison, Alan Turing, Vincent van Gogh, and Stephen Hawking; plus fictional icons like Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Stephen Strange, and Smaug..
The Grinch may include a warm message of love and kindness, but Benedict Cumberbatch recently admitted he loves those "cruel" Grinch billboards cropping up around New York and L.A. The actor also explained why his Grinch is an American, instead of going full Boris Karloff with his own naturally sinister British accent.
One difference between this movie on The Grinch and previous versions, is we get some backstory on the character. Benedict Cumberbatch's Grinch is shown to be an orphan, and the star said that isolation leads to his anger and vengefulness. It makes sense that he would lash out during Christmas, which is often a time of loneliness for outsiders.
So The Grinch helps fans empathize a bit more with the title character, making the full message of the story all the more poignant. Will it work for viewers? So far, critics have been mixed on the film. Audience reactions are just starting to trickle in, but if you've seen the film by now you can share your own thoughts below.
Voicing the Grinch must've been a nice break for Benedict Cumberbatch -- from the darkness of his Showtime series Patrick Melrose to constantly being asked about Doctor Strange's end game from Avengers: Infinity War to spring 2019's Avengers 4. His silky voice will next be put to good use December 7 with the Netflix release of Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, featuring Cumberbatch as (who else?) Shere Khan.
In the meantime, feel free to warm the cockles of your heart with The Grinch, now playing as one of the many holiday releases hitting theaters in the final months of 2018.