Benedict Cumberbatch: It's still not OK to come out in Hollywood

Oct 14, 2014 at 8:50 p.m. ET
Image: Mario Mitsis/

Benedict Cumberbatch is playing gay mathematician, Alan Turing, for his next role, but it turns out he is a passionate advocate for the gay rights movement himself. Cumberbatch spoke with Out magazine about that movement and what he would sacrifice to fight for what he believes in.

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"People are being beheaded in countries right now because of their beliefs or sexual orientations," Cumberbatch explained, according to E! News. "It's terrifying. It's medieval — a beheading! I'd take up arms against someone who was telling me I had to believe in what they believed or they would kill me. I would fight them. I would fight them to the death. And, I believe, the older you get, you have to have an idea of what's right or wrong. You can't have unilateral tolerance. You have to have a point where you go, 'Well, religious fundamentalism is wrong.'"

The actor said he would fight "to the death" for the cause. And although he said it has been a struggle for gay people across the world, that fight remains in places you wouldn’t imagine — like Hollywood.

"I think if you're going to sell yourself as a leading man in Hollywood to say 'I'm gay,' sadly, is still a huge obstacle," he explained. "We all know actors who are [gay] who don't want to talk about it or bring it up, or who deny it. I don't really know what they do to deal with it."

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He added, "Human rights movements and sexual and gay rights movements have made huge social progress in the last 40 years, without a doubt, but there's a lot more work to be done. I think it's extraordinary that every time we get to a point where there's any kind of trouble in society, people are scapegoated very, very, very quickly."

You can see Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, out in theaters on Nov. 21.