Before Benedict Cumberbatch was one of the hottest, most in-demand leading men in Hollywood, he was a little-known actor who mostly guested on British TV shows and did the occasional TV movie.
So when Cumberbatch emerged as the favorite to play Sherlock Holmes in the BBC's modern-day version of the story, there was some apprehension that he wasn't good-looking enough for the role -- not only on the part of the producers at the BBC, but also from his own mother, Metro UK reports.
According to Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss, honchos at the BBC agreed that Cumberbatch's acting was impeccable, but still weren't sold on the idea that he could be Sherlock.
"We were promised a sexy one though," BBC producers said, Gatiss told Metro UK.
Now Sherlock showrunner Steven Moffat confirmed the story, telling Time Out that network honchos thought Cumberbatch had "the wrong nose," and Cumberbatch's mother also feared her son might not be regarded as attractive enough for the major role.
To this day, Moffat said, Cumberbatch has difficulty accepting the fact that he has rabid female fans across the globe.
“He never thought of himself as good-looking and everyone casually agreed with him," Moffat said. "He still regards it as preposterous that he’s become this sex symbol.”
Cumberbatch's career has exploded since he came to prominence as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famously cerebral detective. In the last few years he's starred as the main antagonist in "Star Trek: Into Darkness," played groundbreaking mathematician Alan Turing in the critically lauded "The Imitation Game," voiced the dragon Smaug in Peter Jackson's "Hobbit" trilogy and most recently took on the role of Marvel's "Doctor Strange" in the titular movie.
By playing Holmes, Cumberbatch was able to showcase his talent for a large audience, leading to his breakthrough, Moffat said.
"You have to have that weight, style and gravitas to anchor him and make him real," the showrunner told Time Out, per Metro UK. "Cumberbatch is an utterly brilliant actor. He will go down in history."