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Benedict Cumberbatch says 'The Grinch' has a much needed message

Benedict Cumberbatch, who voices the Christmas-hating Grinch in a new animated take on the Dr. Seuss classic, told CNN the holiday story is as timely as ever.

“When he [Grinch] realizes that Christmas isn’t about materialism, it is about joy and kindness and generosity, he says love and kindness are the things we need most and the world needs a lot of love and kindness at the moment,” Cumberbatch told CNN.

The actor said he felt pressure in voicing such an iconic character.

“I like a challenge,” Cumberbatch added. “It’s not the first iconic character I’ve done, and hopefully it won’t be the last. What a great role to be asked to play.”

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” was adapted into an animated television special in 1966 and a live-action film in 2000, starring Jim Carrey. Cumberbatch said the new film includes more background on what caused the Grinch to grow so cold.

“Our Grinch is someone who was taken back in from the outside,” he said. “He’s an outsider who’s isolated and angry and full of vengefulness and hate, understandbly given the circumstances — as we explain in this film — that he was an orphan. Christmas is obviously a time of loneliness and isolation for him rather than the usual family joy and a spirit of belonging and community.”

The film also features the voices of Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson, Angela Lansbury and Pharrell Williams.

“The Grinch” debuts in theaters November 9.

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