Perhaps like all other actors who’ve played him, though, I started to obsess over the original, the books. And the writers did a remarkable job of being loyal to them while adding new elements and a topical wit.
The easiest way to play any character first found in literature is to imagine it’s a new character and that no one’s ever heard of him. That is hard because you have to say things like, “I’m Sherlock Holmes” and immediately all these years of history and iconography hit you.
Benedict Cumberbatch, from an article in Frankie magazine, July/August, 2012, page 26.
Well, we never said he was perfect. Occasionally, Benedict — mind probably racing several times faster than mouth — will contradict himself, as he does in that last line. What we think he means is, that you can get intimidated by everything that’s gone before — and so the easiest thing to do is to imagine that nothing has gone before, and that you’re starting with something that’s totally fresh and new.
Still, we’re impressed at how casually he drops the word iconography in there, knowing full well how appropriate it is to the whole mythos of Sherlock Holmes.