A kinder, gentler Grinch

The Grinch (above) is a remake of a classic 1957 children's book by Dr Seuss - about a curmudgeonly, Christmas-hating creature.
The Grinch (above) is a remake of a classic 1957 children's book by Dr Seuss - about a curmudgeonly, Christmas-hating creature.PHOTO: UNIVERSAL PICTURES
The Grinch (above) is a remake of a classic 1957 children's book by Dr Seuss - about a curmudgeonly, Christmas-hating creature.
I thought, 'What is it about me that makes you think I'm suitable to play this part? I'm not nasty.' - ACTOR BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH (above), on being offered the role of the GrinchPHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Benedict Cumberbatch, who voices the eponymous green monster in The Grinch, warmed to the moving backstory explaining the creature's aversion to Christmas

Warnings against asking personal questions when you interview a famous actor are standard-issue. But if you are granted an audience with Benedict Cumberbatch, those publicists' reminders are a little more stern than usual.

And you get why when you hear other reporters' war stories of the actor's icy displeasure at questions that even breathe in the general direction of his home life, not to mention his wife - playwright Sophie Hunter, 40 - and their sons Kit, three, and Hal, one.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 29, 2018, with the headline 'A kinder, gentler Grinch'. Print Edition | Subscribe