Doctor Strange Actor Benedict Cumberbatch Regrets Taking on Controversial Zoolander 2 Role

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Credit: Paramount

Benedict Cumberbatch's name is attached to the Marvel Cinematic Universe these days but apart from playing the Sorcerer Supreme, we can't discount the fact that the 45-year-old star is actually a well-versed actor. But out of all the characters he's portrayed on both the small and big screens, there's one role that he admittedly believes was a huge mistake. In 2016, the same year that the original Doctor Strange film came out, Cumberbatch made a cameo in Zoolander 2 as a non-binary fashion model.

Credit: Marvel Studios
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His brief involvement in the Ben Stiller-led comedy sequel was met with massive backlash from the LGBTQ+ community at the time and even spawned an online petition urging moviegoers to boycott the film for its offensive portrayal and representation of non-binary individuals.

Unsurprisingly, Cumberbatch would also draw flak for taking on the role and was even accused of transphobia. Now, years after his controversial cameo appearance in Zoolander 2, the British actor is reflecting on the huge "mistake" he made which didn't end up well for all parties involved.

While chatting with his Zoolander 2 co-star Penélope Cruz for Variety's Actors on Actors, Cumberbatch admitted that he regrets accepting the part and that the role should have been played by a trans actor instead. He said: "There was a lot of contention around the role, understandably now. And I think in this era, my role would never be performed by anybody other than a trans actor. But I remember at the time not thinking of it necessarily in that regard, and it being more about two dinosaurs, two heteronormative clichés not understanding this new diverse world. But it backfired a little bit."

Also Read: Doctor Strange 2: Hugh Jackman 'Confirms' Involvement in Multiversal Sequel

Getting dragged into a huge controversy must have stung for Cumberbatch but as unfortunate as it is, at least he learned a valuable career lesson thanks to his involvement in Zoolander 2. It's also pretty safe to say that he's become more mindful of the roles he takes on.


Meanwhile, Benedict's next movie, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits cinemas on May 6, 2022.