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Lions Roar : May 2016
S PIRITUALITY AND ART, even in the supposedly soulless and money-driven place that is Hollywood, are closely connected. How can a creative person not seek to understand the deeper meaning behind our existence? When I interviewed George Lucas, he said it was being flung through a car window in a high-speed crash when he was a teenager—in the days before airbags it was only his seat belt snapping that saved his life—that made him take his way- ward life in hand and seek to excel at filmmaking. The spiritual awakening it provoked also found expression in The Force, that mystical notion of balance which pervades his Star Wars universe. David Lynch, whose films seem like evanescent dreams captured and writ large upon the big screen, told me he avoided psychotherapy because he feared it would affect his creativity—but he is a tireless advocate of Transcendental Meditation. A former editor of the London Time Out and the arts section of The Saturday Times, DOMINIC WELLS is a British screenwriter and journalist who writes frequently on film. Cumberbatch discovered Buddhism when he spent a year teaching English at a monastery in Darjeeling, India. “They taught me a lot more than I could ever teach them,” he says. PHOTOBYBGOPAL/DREAMSTIME.COM Starring roles from van Gogh and Alan Turing to Sherlock Holmes and Hamlet have made Benedict Cumberbatch one of the world’s most celebrated actors. Through it all, he’s remained good-humored, grounded, and compassionate. He sits down with DOMINIC WELLS to talk about the leading role Buddhism has played in his life and career. The Buddhist Life of Benedict Cumberbatch LION’S ROAR | MAY 2016 53