Benedict Cumberbatch is aware of the controversy surrounding his character in Zoolander 2.
In the 2016 comedy—a box office and critical flop—the Doctor Strange actor plays a non-binary, long-haired, eyebrow-less model named All.
“There was a lot of contention around the role, understandably now,” the actor told fellow Zoolander 2 star Penélope Cruz, during Variety‘s Actors on Actors series. “In this era, it would never have been performed by anybody other than a trans actor.”
Cumberbatch continued, “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 yeah, it kind of backfired a little bit.”
Controversy aside, being on set was a ridiculously good experience. “It was lovely to meet you in that brief moment and to work with Ben [Stiller] and Owen [Wilson],” he added, “and the craziness of that film, being such a huge fan of the first one.”