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Benedict Cumberbatch on Patrick Melrose [featurette] #book2movie

Benedict Cumberbatch is Patrick Melrose

“A man on the brink of collapsing into himself in an episode of drug-fueled schizophrenia.’’

Patrick Melrose is a five-episode event on Showtime. Episode One aired this Saturday and is now available On Demand, so if you haven’t started watching, you can still catch up. You may want to because Benedict Cumberbatch is almost certainly going to be the front-runner for next year’s Best Actor Emmy award for his portrayal of the drug-addled Melrose. 

Watching the episode about Melrose traveling to New York to retrieve his father’s ashes (Hugo Weaving) I was both repulsed and fascinated by his wild swings between going straight and doing what he needed to get his fix. As anyone who has friends or family with addiction issues, whether it’s cocaine, heroin or the more commonplace alcohol, those wild swings are what drive you crazy. You get to a place where you know they’ll never get sober, never get straight, but the frenzy they create in your life goes on. The fear that one more fix, one more snort, one more drink is the one that kills them. 

It’s exhausting. It was exhausting to watch Cumberbatch too, on the verge, as he says in the quote above, of collapsing into himself. He got every tick, every crazy-eyed, every slow slur of speech—you should see him after he dropped a quaalude when the muscles of his body are so relaxed, he oozes to and along the floor—exactly right. 

Patrick Melrose, based on the books by Edward St. Aubyn was scripted by David Nicholls (One Day). The cast includes Hugo Weaving, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jessica Raine (Call the Midwife). A highlight of episode one was Allison Williams in a surprisingly mature role for the actor who played Marnie in Girls. 

Are you watching Patrick Melrose? Let me know what you think in the comment section below. I’m all ears.

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