Sherlock has become such a cult worldwide phenomenon that it’s sparked homoerotic fan fiction, a Benedict Cumberbatch fanclub (Cumberbitches), and thousands of internet memes. We Tweet a picture halfway during the shoot and our social networks explode. ‘OH S**T,’ ‘OH GOD SEND HELP,’ and ‘I feel like gouging my eyes out and feeding them to a llama so people will understand how jealous I am,’ are just a few of the comments we receive.
So how do you go on after playing such an iconic villain? Andrew Scott talks about life after Sherlock and his eclectic new projects including a play about a rock star and an Irish comedy movie. Oh, and that Benedict Cumberbatch kiss scene…
TOPMAN: Tell us a little about your new play?
ANDREW SCOTT: Birdland is a play about a rock star. Not any particular one. It’s kind of about if you give a human being everything they want; they lose all their empathy. And if you idolise someone too much, the person becomes a victim because no one treats them as an equal. I’ve noticed with certain people that they’ve been affected by fame – they just talk endlessly about themselves. That’s a little bit what it’s about; empathy and the nature of being adored and always being away from home.
TM: Did you research the role?
AS: I don’t want it to be any particular person, I don’t want people to think, ‘oh it’s about Thom Yorke’. I wanted to create a new guy. I looked at the One Direction documentary, and that was really helpful. These guys were picked out of their homes and they don’t go home for a long amount of time. It’s not this guy’s music, but I’m not snobby about where you get your source material from.
TM: In stark contrast, you’re also starring in a new comedy, The Stag.
AS: That’s what I like about being an actor, you can do a play about a rock star then do an Irish comedy about male friendship. It’s about a group of guys that are really anti-stag. People have been asking me if it’s an Irish version of the Hangover, but it’s not like that at all. These guys just think going away for a stag it really archaic, but they go away anyway and it harks back to the reasons why guys did that in the first place. Because I’ve played a lot of dark characters of late, I was looking to do something more human. It’s one that women will really enjoy, it’s not too RAAAAARGH TESTOSTERONE!
TM: How do you prepare for a role like Moriarty?
AS: They wrote it really brilliantly, and I wanted to do something different with the character. I knew in the last season just gone he’s a very fleeting presence in it. This time when they wrote a scene in Sherlock’s head, I was in a lunatic asylum, so I wanted to do something unhinged. I prepare differently for each role, I don’t like to do much research, I like to keep it as playful as possible. I don’t want to be mistaken for a serious actor!
TM: Whose idea was it to do the Benedict kiss scene?
AS: It was Mark Gatiss’ (Sherlock writer and Mycroft) idea! It was a funny idea, I kind of knew the reaction it would get. But we had a lot of fun doing it, it’s very tame compared to a lot of stuff I get sent.
TM: What’s your relationship like with Benedict Cumberbatch?
AS: It’s great, I’m so proud of him. He’s a great pal, he deserves the stuff that’s coming his way. It’s really nice to have gone on this journey with him. We’re from the same backgrounds, we both worked a lot in theatre in our twenties. He’s just a good human being.
TM: What’s been your craziest fan moment?
AS: Some of the screaming is hard to get used to. The fans that I really like are the ones that are really respectful. I don’t want to be intimidated, I like to talk to people and people to talk to me, I don’t want to lose the opportunity to actually talk to people. When people get hysterical there’s no room for interaction. I’m really grateful for my fans, they’re sensible and a little bit cheeky, and they take the piss out of me!