Se: Benedict Cumberbatch loves parties and never really spends his London evenings at home. He’s is said to be very physical, and needs to be fed by his external environment on a regular basis. Cumberbatch is energized by being on stage, loves to put on a show, mimic people and get a laugh out of everyone. He doesn’t enjoy strategizing or planning for the life of him. As a kid he was wild and ran around a lot…
Fi: Though he says he’s not always comfortable in social situations, Benedict Cumberbatch is very outgoing and enjoys connecting with people on an interpersonal and international basis. He tends to internalize his stress (which often makes him sick), but is typically open to any sort of personal question. He’s very empathetic, wishes people would “notice each other,” and usually puts others before himself.
Te: Benedict Cumberbatch choses words carefully, but never ever ever gives short answers in interviews. He pushed himself really hard in school and was said to be a “model pupil.” It shows today in the fact that he’s so is well versed in a variety of topics.
Ni: Benedict Cumberbatch says he tends to be a bit hyperactive. He is easily distracted and will drift off topic in interviews because he wants to explore other ideas (part of this is ADHD). In fact, he doesn’t really answer questions. He just talks about whatever idea pops into his head in response to the question. He’s very ambitious (we all know that).
Sherlock INTJ, Kahn INTJ, Stephen Hawking INTJ, William Pitt INTJ, James (Third Star) INFP, Patrick Watts ISTJ, Smaug INTP etc.
This is a portrait of what an intelligent ESFP looks like –unfortunately a lot of the ones in fiction tend to be…not so bright, so they latch on quite a list of stereotypes.
Anywho, I see him play INTJs all the time, and apparently he “relates” to the characters he plays, though on the outside, we definitely don’t see any of that. I’ve actually known quite a few ESFPs that had rationalized that they shared traits in common with INTJs simply because they liked the characters. Obviously, I can’t prove that this is what’s going on in Benedict Cumberbatch’s head. A lot of people who are intelligent seem to think INTJs are particularly attractive (in film/literature) but not quite so much when they actually meet a real one.
I had one ESFP associate who was obsessed with the character of Batman. Everything he talked about was Batman this, Batman that –he saw himself as a Batman-type character, but in reality, he was anything but. The moment he met me and realized what I was, he started trying to pretend to be an INTJ –and ESFPs are known for being able to adjust their personality depending on who they’re with. The problem was, that the moment he stopped talking to me, he immediately became a goof-off performer for his friends.
It was very entertaining to watch.
Anyway, the only personality-specific trait that I can think would play into Benedict Cumberbatch’s acting style is his dominant Se, which makes him very physical. No matter what he’s doing, there’s always an underlying consciousness of his physicality (and when I say that, I’m not referring to the way he looks). I’m talking more about the way he moves.
You’re particularly aware of every motion that he makes in a hypersensitive sort of way that doesn’t come naturally when you watch most other actors. When he plays Kahn, he immediately takes on a rigid, stiff posture.
When he plays Sherlock, he’s all over the room, pacing back and forth, talking with his hands etc.
When he plays Stephen Hawking, it seems almost natural he instantly embodies the awkwardness of the scientist’s deteriorating body.
Have you seen how fantastically awkward he is as Patrick Watts? I mean…. that was a terrible movie, but his acting in it was pretty good in terms of how to properly use awkward-posture.
Meanwhile, the real Benedict Cumberbatch is doing party tricks.
I was equally unsurprised that this was also top request for this post series…I see my readership includes a pool of fangirls (for the sake of propriety, I shall reserve my opinions about fangirling)
16 thoughts on “Benedict Cumberbatch: ESFP”
I THINK BENNY IS ENFJ
I think you are spot on. When I watched Sherlock, initially I was confused as all over the Internet he’s typed as INTJ.. . However if you have ever met an INTJ in your life, and I’ve met a few, you’ll know immediately they are nothing like that! The other alternative that’s offered is intp, and that to me seemed even less likely! I guess some of Benedicts functions do shine through despite the acting… I was convinced and still am that Sherlock is definitely a P, not a J… As is Benedict in real life. Extraverted intuition is something he’s able to portray really well and as someone who has that as their primary function, and hardly ever encounters it in the outside world and other people, I valued that highly about the film..
As Enfp, strangely enough i tend to see a lot of myself in Esfps.. We tend to be just as talkative, without making any real point and jump from one thing to another.. their physical stuff that you mention always amazes me, as that’s our weakest function and also how we often feel inside but can’t express outwardly, the way Benedict does with such ease! Thanks for pointing that out.
This analysis obviously took real thinking, time and effort. And actually, I think you have provided a really detailed account of his behavior based on your observations. I want to bring one thing to your attention however. In this theory of personality (MBTI) we are really talking about ways people process and evaluate information. One huge “ah-ha” moment for me in reading your description of Mr. Cumberbatch was this:
“In fact, he doesn’t really answer questions. He just talks about whatever idea pops into his head in response to the question.”
So what your describing there is actually (by definition) intuition. Instead of thinking in a more sequential and straightforward manner, the intuitive information processor focuses not on what’s actually being SAID, but instead on whatever thoughts, feelings, impressions, images… etc… flow out of what’s being said. At first in conversation, generally speaking, an intuitive is focused on the words you are speaking… but as soon as what you are saying triggers that intuition (the ah-ha! moment) they are off on a tangent talking about whatever interesting idea or possibility popped into their brain. This can sometimes endlessly redirect the conversation… and with ADHD I think the conversation gets even more disjointed.
Here is an interview with Benedict on Charlie Rose: https://youtu.be/5owi1ch5AxI
So, at the beginning of the interview… notice that he gets derailed and has to ask what the question was again. Total ADHD moment there. Later, at about the 8 1/2 minute mark Charlie Rose asked him if he would do things differently with his acting training, if he could go back. Benedict begins to respond but it quickly branches off into a tangent about the importance of growing up with the buffer of normality and how difficult it is to transition from being an observer to an observee… which technically had nothing to do with the question was asked. The question was about his past training, but in his mind, thinking about his past training must triggered these other ideas about being an observer… and he entirely forgets the original question and follows his chain of intuitively connected ideas.
I have to say that I do not have the gift of observation. Rather, I have the gift of speculation. It was your perceptive observations that allowed me to make these speculations… so thank you I had a lot of fun analyzing all your observational data.
I don’t think he’s an ESFP. He feels “cold” like an NT. And he can use Se when he needs to, which makes me think whether he’s an ENTJ.
He feels cold, and coldness is a necessary indicator of NT? Also, are you saying that xNTJs can’t use Se?
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I’m ENTP and I’ve been told I am a really warm person to talk to. In fact, people usually spill their gut while talking to… My boyfriend (INTJ) was ‘warm’ to me (I understood what you’re trying to say by cold, you’re an F-type, it’s obvious). Its just as possible that you’re perceiving him that way. Its also possible that you’re not judging him, but judging him by his characters. There are people who type him INFJ (Celebrity Types) and ENFJ (Personality Cafe). It’s just this weird stereotype among us that F types can’t be cold (rational, is the word you were looking for). Maybe you see it that way because an introvert has never confided in you. A lot of my boyfriend and my common friends say that he’s cold, but when it’s just me around, he NEVER shuts up (he’s very entertaining like that, actually). Overall, I don’t think NTs are ‘cold’, it’s an Introvert trait not really linked to mbti. “He can use Se when he needs to”, Its doesn’t work like that. I can’t empathize with people most of the time, even with Fe…I can understand what they’re feeling though. You don’t choose the functions even when you need to. At the end of the day, mbti can only tell you how. And don’t even get me started about your ‘Positive Bias’….
He’s not cold, he’s just British
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Wait, didn’t Benedict Cumberbatch play Alan Turing in Imitation games? It does adds to your theory.
He did play Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. Alan was an ISTJ in the movie and in real life. However, I do see this role as part of Arvid’s theory because INTJs and ISTJs share the same auxiliary and tertiary functions. I believe he has played a few more ISTJs than Alan Turing and Patrick Watts. Benedict is also playing Hamlet, an INTJ, onstage right now.
How many ESFP likes to go to library, museum, and art galleries, honestly? I have read and watch his interviews, I never saw him as an Se-dom. SP famously known as sensation seekers (Se). And his Ti speaks very much louder than Te
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I know ESFPs that spend a great deal of time at libraries and art galleries, or do you only know the stupid ones?
The ones that I know don’t care to come by to any places like that. They don’t even like reading. I must admit they are actually smart, yet laziest people I’ve known who just like talking bull.
By the way, I admire your writing. I’m very glad to see there is still one person/INTJ (who has known as bastard) in these days, that write or maybe talk in mature manner, mainly in your age. I’ll always waiting and visting your page to see more. Though I have different opinions to some, but I’m still learning as well, so I doubt my arguments would be more accurate than yours. Thanks for the explanations you made for greater understanding. I hope you always well. Xx
I am an esfp and I love museums, art galleries and libraries. One of my biggest hobbies is reading and I also love to write.
As a side note, I don’t feel the need to attend every party. I will never step a foot into a club. I drink occasionally but I have never been drunk.
Many people think they know about mbti but they mostly just judge persons by their stereotypes which is just silly. I know many smart SF and SP types and many very stupid and self destructive NT and NJ types.
Interesting, a lot of people type him as an infj though, would that be because they have projected the characters he plays on the actor himself?
Basically. Happens more often than you’d think.
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