Skip to main content

Sir Ian McKellen Is Going To Play Sherlock. Oh, And He Used To Know Benedict Cumberbatch’s Dad.


Today in random awesomeness… 

Recommended Videos

Earlier today I was reading an interview Empire Magazine did with Sir Ian McKellen. I was surprised I hadn’t heard sooner he’d be taking on the iconic role of Sherlock Holmes. More specifically, he’s playing a nearly 100-year-old Holmes in an adaptation of A Slight Trick Of The Mind, directed by Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn).

McKellen, who said he’d never had ambitions of playing Holmes, was a bit surprised when the interviewer brought up there being a younger version of Holmes in the novel as well. “You never know… sometimes they call in Michael Fassbender to be me as a young man, and sometimes they put Patrick Stewart and me through the mangle of film technology and out we come looking 20 years younger, so who knows what will happen,” he said.

But the bigger surprise of the interview was finding out McKellen knew Benedict Cumberbatch’s father. When asked if he’s watched BBC’s Sherlock, McKellen replied, “Of course, of course! I wanted to look at this Martin Freeman chap as Doctor Watson. I’ve met Benedict a couple of times. I knew his father, Timothy Carlton, when we were both quite young, and I remember him telling me that his real name was Cumberbatch. ‘But of course I had to change it because you could never be successful with a surname like that.'”

Who woulda thunk?

(via Empire, image via Patrick Stewart’s Twitter)

Are you following The Mary Sue on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, & Google +?

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]


Jill Pantozzi
Jill Pantozzi is a pop-culture journalist and host who writes about all things nerdy and beyond! She’s Editor in Chief of the geek girl culture site The Mary Sue (Abrams Media Network), and hosts her own blog “Has Boobs, Reads Comics” ( She co-hosts the Crazy Sexy Geeks podcast along with superhero historian Alan Kistler, contributed to a book of essays titled “Chicks Read Comics,” (Mad Norwegian Press) and had her first comic book story in the IDW anthology, “Womanthology.” In 2012, she was featured on National Geographic’s "Comic Store Heroes," a documentary on the lives of comic book fans and the following year she was one of many Batman fans profiled in the documentary, "Legends of the Knight."

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue: