Benedict Cumberbatch has become a global celebrity for his portrayal of detective Sherlock Holmes in the British crime programme, Sherlock, and for his leading role as Doctor Strange in the cinematic Marvel Universe. Now, the British actor is adding producer to his long list of roles with SunnyMarch –– a film & television production company that focuses on projects made by women, for women.
SunnyMarch was founded and is independently run by Cumberbatch and seasoned film producer Adam Ackland. The two men are the only men working within the company –– a statistic that Cumberbatch appreciates, takes pride in, and calls an accomplishment.
The lack of male employees is a testament to Cumberbatch’s dedication to developing women-led projects. At a time when the film industry is lacking adequate gender representation, Cumberbatch is using SunnyMarch to highlight women both on and off-screen and help them get their foot in the door. In order to promote this diversity, the company will work across television, cinema, live events, and streaming services.
“There’s a lot of other things we want to include at SunnyMarch, which we have got on our slate and fulfill the promise of diversity and giving a bolder place for women both behind and in front of the camera,” he says.
As an actor, Cumberbatch aligns himself with the same ideals and integrity. He refuses to accept any roles in films or television programmes if his female co-stars aren’t paid equally. Last year, he told the Radio Times that he considers equal pay one of the ‘central tenets of feminism,’ and says that persistent implementation is key for male actors with the power to say no.
It’s no wonder that Cumberbatch is putting himself aside to shine a spotlight on women producers, directors, writers, and actresses. The production company is set to release plenty of women-led projects within the next year. Among them is a film about motherhood amid environmental disaster and a series titled “The Gender Games,” a manifesto on discovered womanhood and female friendship.