Cumberbatch voice tribute to dad

This Is Local London: Benedict Cumberbatch voices Smaug and the Necromancer in The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug Benedict Cumberbatch voices Smaug and the Necromancer in The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug

Benedict Cumberbatch has revealed that his voice work for his The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug character was in tribute to his father's reading of JRR Tolkien's books as bedtime stories.

The Sherlock star said his love of literature had been inspired by actor dad Timothy Carlton's characterisations when he read them aloud and that his own voice performances as dragon Smaug and the Necromancer were in homage to him.

Benedict, 37, said of his memories of Hobbit bedtime stories with his dad: "Ripping off is probably putting it a bit strongly because I was six or seven at the time, but he definitely sowed the seed.

"He's a great, great, great voice artist, he's a great actor, and so he kind of installed a love for literature in me. That was the first time I'd ever heard the written word and just this explosion of an imaginary landscape in my head, I thought, 'Wow, that can come off a page in black and white? This is insane.'

"Not least because he did do the most extraordinary characterisations, not just Smaug but Gollum and Gandalf and the Hobbit himself, so he could always step into one of the character's shoes should one of the actors get ill."

Benedict continued: "But seriously, I owe a lot to my dad, so yeah, in a way this feels a little bit like homage to him, or at least a kind of doffing of my cap with some welly and gusto."

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug is due to be released in cinemas on December 13.

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