There are early moments in that long period of doing an animated film “where you kind of go kicking and screaming into the booth for the 350th time,” says Cumberbatch, 38.
"At first you think, ‘Why? This is such a waste of everybody’s time and effort and money,’ and actually it is genuinely really enjoyable. Soon you shed the schoolboy sulk dragging your satchel to school, and once you’re there, it’s great."
Malkovich also had issues at first as well as a little bit of a crisis of confidence after a multitude of takes.
"It got to the point where I’d kinda be like, ‘I’ve done now 87,000 variations of this line ‘Dave’ in 16 countries. Am I not good or is there something that’s not happening?’ " says the 60-year-old actor. "Sometimes that was frustrating, but mostly one is challenged by it.
"It’s a lot like a play, which is what Benedict grew up doing and what I grew up doing. You revisit the same thing over and over and over. But that’s only partially bad news."
Penguins executive producer Tom McGrath, who co-wrote the movie and stars as the birds’ military-ish leader Skipper, found that Cumberbatch and Malkovich’s theater background helped them find their new characters — in one case, through over-the-top means.
"When you see John Malkovich being an octopus behind the mike and he’s throwing his arms over his head and he’s allowed to be physical, it’s really funny," McGrath says. "That physicality is perfect for animation.""
Cumberbatch played many roles in the time he was perfecting his secret-agent wolf — including voicing Necromancer and Smaug the dragon in two The Hobbit movies, Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness and famed British codebreaker Alan Turing in the upcoming The Imitation Game (out Nov. 21).
He thinks of it as a repertory ensemble of characters, though some have rubbed off on Classified.
"There’s a tinge of Sherlock in the sense he’s arrogant and he gets his comeuppance by having to admit he needs help," Cumberbatch says. "He’s a Bond figure who thinks he’s got it all sorted and it’s all about squaring everything away and looking cool. Sherlock has a bit of that — he’s not as much of a poseur as Agent Classified.
"While I do jump from one character to another, they’re so different I don’t fear the bleed." [x] - [x]