Exclusive: Benedict Cumberbatch still can't say 'penguins'

Be hopped on a flight to Hong Kong to chat with the one and only Benedict Cumberbatch about his Marvel debut in Doctor Strange.

But first, let’s get to the bottom of that penguin debacle – why exactly can’t the Oscar-nominated actor say that simple little word?

“It’s almost a complete speed bump in my brain,” he tells Be in the interview above.

“I wouldn’t go so far as to say [I’m] dyslexic, because that’s such a tough thing to deal with and fight but there are a few words that I have a blank on and that’s definitely one of them.”

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The actor, who once repeatedly called penguins “penglings” while narrating a nature documentary, adds that he’s still not confident saying the word.

“No,” he says. “Absolutely not.”

He adds: “It’s this whole thing now – ironically starring in a film with that word in the title – it was much muted at that point to the amusement of myself as well as anyone else.”

Sorry Benedict, you're not slipping under anyone's radar anytime soon.

In fact, the star, who rose to mainstream prominence with his starring roles in TV’s Sherlock and critically-acclaimed films like The Imitation Game, has become ridiculously famous – and he has the fan nicknames to prove it.

Yep, he’s got more nicknames than Tay-Tay!

Just before our one-on-one chat, Benedict tells us that NOVA presenter Smallzy nicknamed him “Benno”, and it has already stuck.

When we asked the star what he prefers from his many nicknames he said: “I think Benno!”

He added: “It’s something that I could endure on a daily basis.”

Speaking of nicknames, Be also chatted to “Benno” on the red carpet of the Hong Kong Doctor Strange fan event the night before, where he revealed he calls his one-year-old son Christopher, Kit!

Benedict Cumberbatch greets his wife Sophie Hunter with a big hug on the set of Doctor Strange in New York. Source: Splash

"Kit's a good sleeper and Sophie's a hero - a true hero," Benedict told us. "I am very lucky.”

But there’s another nickname he’s not too keen on – gifted to him by his Doctor Strange co-star Tilda Swinton and the film’s director Scott Derrickson.

That nickname is “The Professor”. And when Be reveals this one to the star, he’s completely taken aback.

“What?!” he says. “That’s ridiculous…what?

“They are far sharper and more intelligent than I could ever wish to be.

“I think the reason why I get smart roles is that I come across that way sometimes, but it’s not from a great foundation – I didn’t go to Cambridge like Tilda, I haven’t yet directed a film like Scott – I mean that takes a huge intelligence for both of those feats.

“But I’m very flattered.”

That’s right, Cumberbabes, your mate Benno is every bit as humble and down-to-earth as you’d think.

Benedict plays a neurosurgeon-turned-super hero in the upcoming Marvel blockbuster Doctor Strange. And from what we've seen of the footage so far, it's his most active role yet.

Benedict goes shirtless in Doctor Strange. Source: Marvel

So how did he handle all those early morning wake-up calls from Hollywood personal trainers?

Well, the 40-year-old tells us that preparing for all those sequences wasn't actually as tough as you'd think, even with a newborn in tow.

"It wasn't really taxing," he told Be from the red carpet of the Hong Kong Doctor Strange fan event. "You have an awfully huge team to support you.

Benedict and his wife Sophie Hunter on the set of Doctor Strange. Source: Getty

"So as long as you do your work, you're fine - you have a trainer to put you in a reasonably good physical condition to get you through the day and to look good if you need to do any shirts off stuff."

Oh, hello. Does this mean we're going to see Benedict get his shirt off as Doctor Strange? Brace yourselves, Cumberbabes.

He added: "We had some incredible stunt coordinators. Some of which were from Hong Kong for the fight sequences and they really know what they're doing.

"The hardest part for them was reigning in an actor who's not done an awful lot of that all the time - bits here and there - but I'm not an action star per see, so just bringing myself up to speed.

Benedict as Doctor Strange. Source: Marvel

"But it's the same for the character," Benedict explained. "He's good with his hands and he's a surgeon - he's not an action hero at the beginning of the film. So, in a way, his learning curve was also mine."

Earlier that day, Benedict admitted that this action-based role was a step up from what he's used to.

"There were different demands for me doing a film of this scale,” the Sherlock star said of his first super hero role. “Whether it be the hours or the amount of live action involved.

Doctor Strange. Source: Marvel

"The physical side of things was a step up for me. But I think like a lot of actors, when you’re in a big film, you can’t think about that, you can’t think about what the preconceptions are going to be, you just try to problem solve moment by moment, day by day.”

“So [it’s] no different from any other role except more running around and physicality I suppose.”

Doctor Strange is in cinemas on October 27, 2016.

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Interview by Yahoo 7 Be entertainment reporter Yasmin Vought.

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