Benedict Cumberbatch Says His Comments About CBS' Elementary Were Misquoted

In an interview with Shortlist earlier this week, Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch was asked for his thoughts on CBS' suspiciously similar project, Elementary. The British actor was candid but mostly diplomatic, saying that he was "cynical" about the show, and that Elementary star Jonny Lee Miller had asked for his blessing for taking the role. Now, however, Cumberbatch says that he was misquoted.

The problem comes during the Shortlist interview when Cumberbatch is quoted as saying:

I did say [to Jonny], 'Well, I’d prefer you didn’t do it but you’ve got a kid to feed, a nice house in LA and a wife to keep in good clothes.' When you get used to a certain standard of living and they waft a paycheck at you, what are you going to do?

Cumberbatch reached out to THR to clarify his remarks, saying that he was misquoted. Here's his full statement:

I am both bemused and upset at this misquote. I never said that Johnny took the job for the paycheck nor did I ask him not to do it. What I said is I would have preferred not to be in the situation where we will again be compared because we are friends. I know for a fact his motivations were to do with the quality of the script and the challenges of this exceptional role.It is baffling because I have only been supportive of an incredibly talented actor who I am proud to call a friend taking a job I know he is going to enjoy immensely and be wonderful in.Over 70 actors have played this exceptional character before us. To say that there can be only one Holmes would be ludicrous. We're both thrilled to get the opportunity to play him in a modern context. The world of Sherlock Holmes and the world that we live in now is big enough to take more than one interpretation. As a genuine Sherlock Holmes fan I am greatly looking forward to his series.

It's kind of hard to determine exactly what's happening here. Is Cumberbatch claiming that the Shortlist outright fabricated the quote? Calling it a "misquote" seems to suggest the former, but that seems to be just asking for the Shortlist interview to pop out a copy of his recording of the interview to disprove the "misquote" accusation. It seems more likely that Cumberbatch has stepped in a hornet's nest he didn't intend to and is simply trying to clarify and offer context to his original remarks. If that's the case, it seems inaccurate to call the original interview a misquote. Who knows, maybe he'll issue a new clarification to clarify his first clarification. I love show business.

CBS' Elementary stars Jonny Lee Miller as a modern-day Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as the newly female Joan Watson. However, the whole "modern Sherlock" has already been done, brilliantly, by the British Sherlock, created by Doctor Who boss Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, and starring Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. CBS' version has one hell of a bar to clear.

Elementary is set to premiere on CBS this September 27th. A third season of Sherlock is also purportedly in the works, although there is no official premiere date set.