Book Review: Benedict Cumberbatch- Transition Completed by Lynette Porter

Read between: 23rd June- 2nd July
Number of pages: 272
Publisher: MX Publishing
Published: November 3rd, 2014

Synopsis: Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Fifth Estate, 12 Years a Slave, August: Osage County, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug- these would be the milestones in most actors’ entire career. For Benedict Cumberbatch, roles in these films are merely a years additions to his already- vast resume. 2013 proved to be the final step in Cumberbatch’s transition from respected working actor to bona fide worldwide celebrity and recipient of BAFTA Los Angeles’ Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year. Like it’s predecessor, Benedict Cumberbatch, In Transition (MX Publishing, 2013), Benedict Cumberbatch, Transition Completed: Films, Fame, Fans, explores the nature of Cumberbatch’s fame and fandom while analysing his recent roles. This in-depth performance biography does more than critique the actors radio, stage, film and television performances- especially his star turn in the long await yet controversial third series of Sherlock. It also analyses how and why the actor’s work is so memorable in each role, a perspective unique to this performance biography. Cumberbatch’s role in popular culture, as much as his acting in multiple media, is well wort scrutiny to illustrate that Benedict Cumberbatch represents both the best of acting and the power of celebrity.

Rating: 5521e-4stars

Review: Compared to the first book, there were lots more elements to it- some even focus on individual projects and others, be it be a critique of him or those around him, on his not so perfect behaviour (usually caught by paparazzi or mis-reported by the press a la ‘punching’ a reporter for disrespecting keira knightley)

That being said, these books are written by an academic, so there’s quotes and various reviews taken from actual people- all referenced. There’s a lot of research rather than fangirling which I like. You can tell that Porter is a fan but the fact is never obviously mentioned. It’s not just someone fangirling and it’s nice to read about Benedict’s work in more depth.

This book looks at his work post the first two seasons of Sherlock ad his rise in Hollywood, from Star Trek to The Hobbit- as well as other mediums such as radio and theatre. He is a very diverse actor with a range of skills and this book is sectioned in a way to promote that.

I especially loved the way she cleverly made some of the linked, one about the Hobbit, obviously named ‘From Dragon’ to the next chapter about the newest season of Sherlock ‘To Dragonslayer’ allowed for a swift move in his work whilst keeping the book flowing.

I read the first book last year and I like that they both follow the same format- including an index in the back! A transitional biography is such a clever way to take a step away from his personal life- but the part about how he behaves around his Mum was sweet Apart from that his personal life is barely touched upon.

It did take me a while to read it because I treated it differently to a novel- but that worked as I got absorbed in each section I read. I’ll definitely be flipping through it again.

4/5 stars.



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