FILMMAKER & AUTHOR
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Author / Imagine More

The Time My Friend Punched Benedict Cumberbatch In the Face

The moments that followed were filled with silent intensity. As everyone held his and her breath, Benedict Cumberbatch got up from the floor undoubtedly displeased. Quickly, the assistant director yelled, “That’s lunch everyone!” and all the stuntmen and production crew quietly made their way off the set towards catering while the set nurse rushed to tend the notable actor’s now bleeding nose.

I was in London working on a riveting action film starring Nick Moran, Colin Salmon and Benedict Cumberbatch. The scene shot involved a fighting sequence between Benedict and a bunch of henchmen…which included the director and me (He slipped us in the scene for fun). The film is called Little Favour and how I ended up working on this film project can be described as a series of fortunate events. The thrill of working on such a production is something I will always cherish.

The director and I have known one another since childhood. We grew up within the same community of people, but as our lives and careers unfolded, we lost touch. It wasn’t until, through a tragic death in the family, did we re-connect, and even though it was a difficult time, I found it reinvigorating that after so many years, this director and I would have uncanny similarities from fitness and philosophy to writing and photography.

Unlike my familiar “So close yet so far” scenario with Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel), I stayed engaged with the director since the day of the funeral, and our relationship transformed both my career and outlook on life in profound ways I would have never known otherwise. The director began developing a script for a film which soon began production. He kept me in the loop throughout every step of the process. One day he called me, introducing the idea of me being apart of his film, at the time I didn’t know in what capacity, nevertheless, I was excited.

However, just before production, the excitement of participating in the film was nearly derailed when I was informed there wasn’t enough in the film budget to fly me to London for the project. This nearly crushed me because I wasn’t in a financial position to pay my own way.

I was on a photography assignment on Martha’s Vineyard with a friend when the discouraging news was disclosed to me. I couldn’t help but express with my friend (who prefers to remain anonymous) how upset and sad I was throughout the assignment. But then something remarkable happened, my friend decided to help me get to London. I have to tell you, words fail to capture how elated I became. I quickly shared the news with the director and we were able to work out the logistics of my arrival there; the way for me to be a part of his film was back.

I recognized something powerful at the time because I find it telling that life isn’t necessarily about the amount of people you know but rather knowing the right people…the ones who help you evolve. It propelled me to consider how many relationships I have and how many of them are really worth sustaining. I realize it sounds harsh, but considering how distracting and draining our lives often leave us, perhaps it’s time for us to evaluate which people stimulate us and cultivate our growth against those who sap our energy and time without any reciprocity. Let me be clear:

Our relationships aren’t about how we can capitalize off of them, they’re about how we can invest in them for the edification of others. It’s about love and the fulfillment of helping those we love reach their dreams.

My experiences and involvement in the film project and the journey of being a part of it refined me professionally…but more so helped me understand that positioning ourselves with those who nurture our souls, who challenge us to become more, may be a powerful formula moving forward. In addition, focusing on the quality of relationships we choose to invest in will likely establish a new sense of vigor within us. For myself, having a relationship with the director, likewise with my other dear friend, empowered me to explore more and reach new plateaus; I found my spirit rekindled and excited about the possibilities that surrounded me once more.

Approaching challenges and meeting them as a team, and not as an individual, radically changes outcomes.

The director taught me that his successes are fueled by his empowering nature and the dynamic of relationships he keeps around him. I mean, how else could someone punch Benedict Cumberbatch in the face and still be best friends afterwards?

Little Favour is available to purchase on Amazon’s website.

Jubei RazielComment