Benedict Cumberbatch is a fine actor, but he's never going to be huge in the US. God knows he's trying, and he's making a run at the Oscars this year with The Fifth Estate (although buzz out of TIFF indicates it'll be an uphill battle), but I just feel like he'll never fully breakthrough in America. He looks too much like James Carville. He'll always be big on Tumblr, but I don't know if the mainstream will accept him.
Now Tom Hiddleston? Loki is huge. Bigger than Thor in his own movie. Hiddleston is big on Tumblr too, but I get the sense that he's crossing over to the mainstream in a big way right now. His bit with Cookie Monster on Sesame Street went mega-viral yesterday, and he's just more conventionally handsome and sweet. Also, his name is less weird. Yes, I suspect the average American looks askance at Benedict Cumberbatch's name. I have that low an opinion of my fellow Americans.
All that preamble builds up to the announcement that Hiddleston is replacing Cumberbatch in Guillermo del Toro's haunted house movie Crimson Peak. Cumberbatch, you'll recall, dropped out of the movie earlier this year just before his name became attached to Star Wars rumors that were probably planted so he could negotiate better for his actual next movie, The Lost City of Z. The arrival of Hiddleston makes me excited. And it should make Tumblr excited, because del Toro has said this is one kinky haunted house movie. Talking to Shock Til You Drop, del Toro compared it to his Spanish films:
“Crimson Peak is a much, much, much smaller movie, completely character-driven. It’s an adult movie, an R-rated movie, pretty adult. Shockingly different from anything I’ve done in the English language. Normally, when I go to do a movie in America for the spectacle and younger audience, for Blade or whatever. This movie’s tone is scary and it’s the first time I get to do a movie more akin to what I do in the Spanish movies.
[It]has moments that are very visceral, physical violence. You’re in this sort of sedate romance and then there is this brutal moment where you’re like, “Whoa!” And it has a lot of kinky moments. The only kinky moment I’ve ever shot is the leg f**k in The Devil’s Backbone. [laughs] This has a little more kinkiness than that.”
Kinky Loki ahoy!
But seriously, I think this is a trade up in terms of marketability and maybe even in terms of acting. I think Hiddleston has an extraordinary screen presence but also a sense of fun that will play nicely in a gothic, sexy movie like this. I'm excited by this change.