Benedict Cumberbatch describes putting on ‘ludicrous’ monster suit for Eric

Benedict Cumberbatch describes putting on ‘ludicrous’ monster suit for Eric

Benedict Cumberbatch has described his experience shooting in a 7-foot monster costume for the new TV series Eric, calling it “one of the most ludicrous things I’ve ever done”.

The Sherlock actor spoke about his character Vincent, a puppeteer living in New York in the ‘80s whose nine-year-old son goes missing on the way to school.

Cumberbatch’s character becomes fixated on the idea that if he creates a real-life version of his son’s imaginary friend, a monster named Eric, he will be able to track his son down.

Speaking about his experience of filming in the Eric suit, he told the BBC: “It was one of the most ludicrous things I’ve ever done — and I’ve done a few.

“It was fun though – and painfully funny.”

Written for Netflix by Abi Morgan, whose credits include 2011’s Oscar-winning film The Iron Lady and 2007’s film adaptation of Monica Ali’s Brick Lane, Eric probes Vincent’s psyche as he continues to spiral over his son’s disappearance.

Benedict Cumberbatch in new Netflix series ‘Eric' (Netflix)
Benedict Cumberbatch in new Netflix series ‘Eric' (Netflix)

“He’s this chaotic guy on the edge,” Cumberbatch said.

“[Vincent’s] loveless upbringing, where his mental health issues were dealt with by prescriptions and a cold, Victorian dismissal of ‘not seen, not heard’” ended in that trauma carrying over into his relationships at home and work, added Cumberbatch.

On the costume for Eric, Cumberbatch said the experience, while “ludicrous,” also humbled him – as he ruminated on the performance of co-star Olly Taylor, who plays Eric for the majority of the series.

“It was beautiful to act opposite Olly, who’s inside the suit – he gave him so much life and character,” Cumberbatch said.

“People say: ‘What moved you most about this drama?’ Actually it was putting on Olly’s visor and seeing what he saw, and how he’d been doing it for about five months at that point.

“It just made me be so sad for my collaborator, who’d been so brilliant, but had suffered so much.”

The suit itself weighed 20kg, and Cumberbatch had to wear goggles while inside so he was able to see the camera feed on Eric and figure out where he had to physically place himself.

“You have four fixed cameras inside it. You can’t see at all, as we would, with periphery – nothing – just reported sight of what he looks like within the scene… with three screens to look at.

“I mean, Olly gave a beautiful, grounded, believable performance that had us all like kids again, just in awe, and tearing up and smiling and laughing. It was a joy.”

Eric will be available to stream from 30 May on Netflix.