One of the more joyous cinematic occurrences in 2018 was in Avengers: Infinity War when Benedict Cumberbatch’s Dr. Strange took a moment between intergalactic super-hero death battles to call Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man a “douchebag” to his face. It was entirely accurate and kind of delicious because Dr. Strange is the ever-serious Master of the Mystic Arts and to hear him use common gutter language on that pompous prick Tony Stark was a delight. So Cumberbatch was already officially aces in mine and other people’s minds, and his recent interview with RadioTimes (via Deadline) proved that assessment correct. Cumberbatch revealed that he only takes parts in which his female co-stars make equal pay.
The leader of the Cumberbitches is currently promoting Patrick Melrose on Showtime and explained feminism to the readers (“Equal pay and a place at the table are the central tenets of feminism.“). But he gets a pass because the semi-mansplaining was for a good cause. He also had some advice for his fellow man-actors out there.
The Avengers: Infinity War actor added, “Look at your quotas. Ask what women are being paid, and say: ‘If she’s not paid the same as the men, I’m not doing it.’
Cumberbatch’s “practically run by women” SunnyMarch production company seems to subscribe to the adage that “the future is female.”
“I’m proud that [partner] Adam [Ackland] and I are the only men in our production company; our next project is a female story with a female lens about motherhood, in a time of environmental disaster,” said Cumberbatch. “If it’s centered around my name, to get investors, then we can use that attention for a raft of female projects. Half the audience is female!”
The idea that pay equality is even an issue is more infuriating than the Kardashian family being multimillionaires. But imagining the dulcet tones of Benny Cumberbatch’s silken Smaug voice explaining feminist theory to us eases the pain. At least for me.