Monday, June 30, 2014

Louise Brealey on kissing Cumberbatch

Claire Webb
4:32 PM, 30 June 2014

Do you mind if I ask you about… “The Kiss?” Louise Brealey interrupts, before bursting out laughing. Clearly it’s a question she’s been asked before.

Brealey is best known as Molly Hooper in TV’s Sherlock, the timid pathologist hopelessly besotted with Arthur Conan Doyle’s Baker Street detective, as played by Benedict Cumberbatch. The drama is a global phenomenon, its leading man a sex symbol and that kiss – when Molly’s dreams momentarily came true – a YouTube sensation.

In fact, there were four kisses. “I milked it!” she admits. “Afterwards, Ben and I watched it back on the monitor.” She adopts a Hollywood drawl. “‘Yup, that’s pretty hot.’ And of course it went completely crackers when the show came out. I got 7,000 Twitter followers within five minutes of that kiss airing. It had doubled by the time the episode ended.”

While the odd tweet seethed with jealousy, most were a virtual pat on the back. Brealey believes that’s because “Cumberbitches” – as members 
of the Cumberbatch appreciation society like to call themselves – can identify with Molly. “She’s unthreatening.

She’s an ordinary woman experiencing the agony of unrequited love, and most of us have been there.”

Sherlockco-creator Steven 
Moffat never intended Molly 
to be a permanent fixture, but 
Brealey’s performance persuaded him otherwise. Molly has also become a central character in fan fiction, with thousands of stories posted online. Brealey has only read one. “I just thought I was reading your average story and it turned into straddling and nipple-piercing!”

Growing up in Northampton, she was an academic child, the only one of her siblings that her parents could afford to send to “posh school”. So, while they left the local comprehensive at 16, she read history at Cambridge – a late applicant, it turns out. “When my dad found out I hadn’t applied, he hit the roof. I tried to explain to him I didn’t want to be an Oxbridge reject, but he said: ‘Tough s**t!’ And quite rightly, as it goes.”


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