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Benedict Cumberbatch Cried When Learning About the “Miraculous” Monster Puppeteer Work in Netflix Series ‘Eric’

Benedict Cumberbatch regularly draws rave reviews for his acting work and has appeared opposite many big names. His work in the upcoming Netflix series Eric opposite a big blue monster puppet got him particularly emotional though, the star shared in London on Thursday.

“We had this fantastic operator Olly and his team creating this incredible life-size — for a monster — thing,” he said in a surprise appearance on stage at the Next on Netflix showcase in central London. “It was fantastic. Those guys really know what they’re doing. And there was so much humor in what he was doing, which totally might not work through the whole piece, but at times, it’s going to be great. And he was very inventive.”

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Cumberbatch was touched by the hard work going into the fluffy monster. “I literally cried the day I realized what he was doing, which must have been about four months in. He showed me the headgear, and I put it on,” he shared. “He has this thing across his eyes, which relays four different camera points that are static camera shots to show him the acting space that he’s in. So he’s seeing himself move through space. He’s not seeing where he’s going himself. He’s seeing the image that you’re seeing as a viewer, but from static points, and having to deliver a performance” while not falling over or “bumping into things.”

Cumberbatch’s takeaway: “It’s a miraculous skill. So we formed a very close bond.”

Set in 1980s New York, Netflix describes Eric, which co-stars Gaby Hoffman and Ivan Howe, as an “emotional thriller” from Abi Morgan following “the desperate search of a father (Vincent, played by Cumberbatch) when his nine-year-old son, Edgar, disappears one morning on the way to school.” Vincent is “one of New York’s leading puppeteers and creator of the hugely popular children’s television show, ‘Good Day Sunshine,’” and he “struggles to cope with the loss of his son.”

Vincent becomes increasingly distressed and volatile, according to the show description. “Full of self-loathing and guilt around Edgar’s disappearance, he clings to his son’s drawings of a blue monster puppet, Eric, convinced that if he can get Eric on TV, then Edgar will come home. As Vincent’s progressively destructive behavior alienates his family, his work colleagues and the
detectives trying to help him, it’s Eric, a delusion of necessity, who becomes his only ally in the pursuit to bring his son home.”

At Thursday’s Netflix event, Cumberbatch was asked what topics the six-episode Eric, set to debut on the streamer later this year, tackles. “It is rooted in a lot of real-world issues, looking at parenthood, looking at marriage, looking at mental health, looking at the AIDS pandemic, but also the ongoing crises of homophobia, of racism in institutions,” the star said. “There’s a lot going on, and yet it does speak to our world. It’s not cramming stuff in that we’re not, sadly, all too familiar with.”

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