Smaller place: The English Tea Room at Brown’s
Smallest place: A table for three, with the couple seated next to each other, sweetly, and the reporter across.
REPORTER: What changes these last few years have wrought!
BENEDICT: I can hardly believe it.
NICOLE: Nor I.
REPORTER: How did this all come about? How did such a young Canadian woman manage to become the creator of a relatively high-production-value television program in the UK while editing a popular ladyblog?
BENEDICT: Wymyn’s blog.
REPORTER: Yes, of course. Wymyn’s power blog.
NICOLE: Oh, it’s all a blur, really. (sips tea) Who knows how it started, at this point? Let’s just pick things up as I began shooting on the first season of Sherlock.
REPORTER: That pilot episode was exquisite.
NICOLE: Thank you.
REPORTER: And the second episode of the first season, which really cemented the show’s popularity, for which you took “The Red-Headed League” as your inspiration…is it true that you scrapped what had been originally planned to run in its stead? A crimson-lit blur of Asian drug smugglers and organized crime which inexplicably represented a significant departure in quality from the rest of the series?
BENEDICT: We spent a LOT of time discussing Orientalism together. We spent an entire weekend in Yorkshire, chastely sharing a crofter’s cottage, making thoughtful and informed creative choices, and decided to fire that writer and write our own script.
REPORTER: So, you were not yet lovers.
BENEDICT AND NICOLE: (staring intently at each other) Not yet, no.
NICOLE: I thought he was pretty freaky-looking for the whole first season, to be honest.
BENEDICT: That’s pretty common, because I have such a weird-looking face and very little muscle tone.
NICOLE: And, of course, I was devoted to the memory of my late husband.
REPORTER: Yes, how long had he been dead at this point?
NICOLE: (firmly) Thirty years.
REPORTER: Such a long time for you to have been devoted to his memory, especially considering you are now only twenty-eight years old yourself.
BENEDICT: Although I was in love with her instantly–helplessly and passionately in love–and texted her constantly to ask about her day or to compliment her on her writing or to share great lines she already knew from 30 Rock, I knew she was so loyal to the memory of her late husband and focused on the show that there was little chance we could be together.
NICOLE: My real priority was also the well-being of my child, but as the first season drew to a close, she accepted a postdoc in theoretical condensed matter physics at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, and I began to think…perhaps it was time to be a woman again, not just Helen Reddy singing “Candle on the Water” in Pete’s Dragon.
BENEDICT: You always have the best references. (ruffles her hair)
REPORTER: It was, legendarily, during the filming of “A Scandal in Belgravia” that your relationship became overtly sexual, yes?
NICOLE: Yes. I had decided to play Irene Adler, of course.
REPORTER: Such a brave choice, considering you are not particularly attractive, and have never acted nor shown any aptitude for it.
NICOLE: Yes, we’d run into a budget snafu, and I knew that the only way I could afford to do “The Reichenbach Fall” in the manner of my choosing was to avoid paying an outside actress to be Irene earlier in the season.
REPORTER: You were sensational. A revelation. You looked incredible. I especially enjoyed how you found an opportunity to show off your equestrian skills, and also did thirty pushups in that one scene which called for it. It added so much to the idea of Irene’s competence and more muscular, outdoorsy attractiveness.
BENEDICT: The original script, although nearly perfect, called for SHERLOCK to save IRENE, but after thinking what sort of message that would send young women, and how it would pollute the original text, we messed it around a bit and it was eventually Irene’s devotion to physical fitness which kept Sherlock from decapitation.
REPORTER: The bit with the phone was the same, of course.
BENEDICT: You see, that’s how I knew she had fallen in love with me, finally.
REPORTER: You mean–
BENEDICT: Yes. The scene where I hold her hand and am surreptitiously taking her pulse? That day, on the set, was how I realized she reciprocated my love. Just like her character! The minute we wrapped on the episode, we blew out of town and spent the next two weeks tearing each other UP in a really classy hotel.
REPORTER: That is a love story for all time.
NICOLE: We think so.
REPORTER: But, despite the love you two share, which is both aggressively physical and also spiritual and a creative partnership, if anything, the show just gets gayer.
REPORTER: Do you think that will change?
BENEDICT: The third season is to be the gayest yet.
REPORTER: Then your reported regular threesomes with Martin Freeman are —
BENEDICT: Are for creative purposes, yes. But not without their charmingly shy and tender charms.
NICOLE: Oh, Benny, we have to go. You’re shooting that three-episode arc on Scandal this week.
REPORTER: Do you always travel together for work?
BENEDICT: What can I say? I’m one of those men who cannot bear to be parted from my beloved. Even if I’m just making sure our DVR is recording her favourite shows while she’s blow-drying her hair, that’s perfect happiness for me.
BENEDICT AND NICOLE: (begin making out)
REPORTER: (picks up the check and casually slips off)
Nicole is an Editor of The Toast.