Cumberbatch and two friends had been driving back to the set of To the Ends of the Earth north of Durban when car troubles put their journey on pause. "It was cold, and it was dark. I felt rotten. We were wary because that's a notoriously dangerous place to drive. Then, poof, the front-right tire blows," Cumberbatch recalled. "So we got the spare, but that meant getting all of our luggage out. We were like sitting ducks, adverts for — not prosperity necessarily but materialism."
That's when six armed figured approached the trio, he said. "They were like: 'Look down! Look down! Put your hands on your heads! Look at the floor!' And they started frisking us and said: 'Where's your money? Where's your drugs?' — we had smoked a bit of weed — 'Where are your weapons?' And at that point, this adrenaline of fight or flight just exploded in my body. I was like, 'Oh f---, we're f---ed!' " Cumberbatch said.
The Sherlock and Star Trek Into Darkness star said the abductors then bound him and his friends and began driving with them in tow. But when Cumberbatch complained about his restraints causing him to lose sensation, he was thrown in the trunk. After some time, the car stopped and Cumberbatch was thrown on the ground, when the actor's fear reached new limits. "I was scared, really scared. I said: 'What are you going to do with us? Are you going to kill us?' I was really worried that I was going to get raped or molested or just tortured or toyed with in some way, some act of control and savagery," Cumberbatch said.
Without explanation, the kidnappers let them go and Cumberbatch recalled the powerful moment he was rescued by a complete stranger. "I looked into this black man's face, and I cried with gratitude," Cumberbatch said.
Overall, the harrowing experience gave Cumberbatch a new appreciation of life. "It really, really enriches your values in life," he said. "It's incredibly important."
"F--- it. If that's a cliche, I don't care," he added.