ENTERTAINMENT
03/04/2021 11:15 BST

Benedict Cumberbatch Suspects He Fell Ill With Covid While Filming On Location Early In Pandemic

The actor said he was left "throwing up between takes" during production of The Mauritanian.

Benedict Cumberbatch has revealed he thinks he could have been among the first people to contract coronavirus after falling ill in late 2019.

The Oscar-nominated actor said that while filming his latest film The Mauritanian on location, he became seriously ill after arriving in South Africa.

Speaking to The Independent more than a year later, Benedict explained: “I was incredibly ill, to the point that when all this Covid stuff suddenly broke in the new year, I was thinking, ‘oh my god was I actually patient zero?’.

“I was so ill – it was borderline pneumonia.”

Because of his filming schedule, Benedict was forced to “plough on” despite his illness, but says he even found himself “throwing up between takes” in the early days of shooting.

Slaven Vlasic via Getty Images
Benedict Cumberbatch in October 2019

Benedict isn’t the only actor who believes he may have contracted Covid-19 in the early stages of the pandemic.

Last year, Hugh Grant claimed that he and his wife suffered coronavirus symptoms in February 2020.

“It started as just a very strange syndrome where I kept breaking into a terrible sweat. It was like a poncho of sweat, embarrassing really,” he told US talk show host Stephen Colbert.

“Then my eyeballs felt about three sizes too big and this feeling as though an enormous man was sitting on my chest – Harvey Weinstein or someone. I thought, ‘I don’t know what this is’.”

Gwyneth Paltrow has also said that she was diagnosed with the disease “early on” in the pandemic, and went on to suffer long Covid symptoms.

As well as playing a military prosecutor in The Mauritanian, which centres around Guantanamo Bay, Benedict is also a producer on the film, with Jodie Foster, Tahar Rahim and Shailene Woodley among the cast.

STX Entertainment/Moviestore/Shutterstock
Benedict Cumberbatch in character in The Mauritanian

The legal drama debuted on Amazon Prime earlier this week, and has been well-received so far, with Jodie Foster winning a Golden Globe for her performance, and Tahar Rahim also receiving a nomination.

It’s also in the running for five Baftas, including Best Film and Outstanding British Film.

Despite this, it was completely snubbed at the Oscars, where it received zero nominations.