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Benedict Cumberbatch in Eric© Netflix

Benedict Cumberbatch reveals the moment he broke down in tears while filming Netflix's Eric

The series is created by The Split writer Abi Morgan

Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
May 30, 2024
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Benedict Cumberbatch has revealed the moment he "literally cried" during filming for Netflix's new miniseries Eric.

The actor stars as Vincent, a puppeteer and creator of a hugely popular children's TV show whose life begins to unravel after his nine-year-old son Edgar goes missing in 1980s New York on the way to school. In an attempt to cope with the trauma, the desperate father strikes up a relationship with an imaginary blue monster puppet, Eric – a creature based on his son's drawings. He becomes convinced that his son will return home if he can bring Eric to life on screen. 

WATCH: Benedict Cumberbatch stars in Netflix’s Eric

Benedict spoke about the series, created by The Split scribe Abi Morgan, at Next on Netflix – an event held in March to showcase upcoming releases. 

Sharing his experience filming the show, Benedict said he became emotional when he donned the puppet suit for the first time and discovered the "miraculous" work of professional puppeteer Olly Taylor.

Benedict Cumberbatch in Eric© Ludovic Robert/Netflix
Benedict Cumberbatch plays Vincent in Eric

"We had this fantastic operator, Olly and his team, creating this incredible, very lived in life-size (for a monster) thing that was beside me in shot, out of shot. Sometimes it's just the voice, but as you see, it's very, very present in other moments. 

"He was very inventive. I literally cried the day I realised what he was doing, which must have been about four months in. He showed me the headgear and I put it on."

Explaining how Olly filmed his scenes in the suit, the Sherlock star continued: "So he had this thing across his eyes, which relays four different camera points that are static camera shots, to show him the acting space that he's in. 

Benedict Cumberbatch as Vincent and Ivan Howe as Edgar© Netflix
The series follows a father's search for his missing son

"So he's seeing himself move through space. He's not seeing where he's going himself. He's seeing the image that you are seeing as a viewer, but from static points and having to deliver a performance, not fall over, not bump into things. And it's a miraculous skill

"We formed a very close bond doing it," added the 47-year-old. 

Gaby Hoffman plays Vincent's wife Cassie© Ludovic Robert / Netflix
Gaby Hoffman plays Vincent's wife Cassie

Expanding on his character's relationship with Eric, Benedict said: "This is a guy who's suffering a sort of psychic split. So his creation becomes something real, it kind of becomes a necessity to him. It's the only prop he has in a world that doesn't make sense logically anymore to him and it becomes manifest, this creature that he's trying to put on TV to deliver his son back into being."

Benedict, who voices Eric in the series, stars alongside Gaby Hoffmann, who plays Vincent's wife Cassie. The series tracks their volatile marriage which comes under serious strain after Edgar's disappearance. 

Gaby Hoffmann, Benedict Cumberbatch in Eric© Ludovic Robert/Netflix
The series follows Vincent and Cassie's relationship

Teasing the plot, writer Abi explained: "It's really about Vincent's journey, not only into the heart of New York and everything that it offers in the mid-eighties, but also into himself.

"It's about his relationship with his wife, Cassie, but also his journey to really find where Edgar is, and what's key to that is he finds some drawings of Eric, which is a puppet that Edgar has created, and he convinces himself if he can get Eric on TV, then maybe his son will come back."

Eric is available to stream on Netflix. 

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