Benedict Cumberbatch is one of the most beloved actors in the world, known for his iconic roles in Sherlock, and Doctor Strange. But his most terrifying part wasn’t in Hollywood — it was in real life. In 2004, Benedict was the victim of a k*idnapping that was even more harrowing than anything he had ever portrayed on screen.

It all began in South Africa where Benedict, then 27, was filming To the Ends of the Earth. He had just finished a scuba diving lesson with his co-stars Denise Black, and Theo Landey. They were driving back to the set through a notoriously dangerous area when a tire blew out on their vehicle.

Benedict pulled over and as he was replacing the tire with a spare, six armed men suddenly appeared from a dark bush. They screamed at the frightened trio to put their hands up and searched them for valuables.

Benedict was blindfolded, bound with his own shoelaces, and thrown into the trunk of the car while Denise and Theo were put in the backseat.

Due to a birth defect on her right hand, Denise asked the ki*dnappers not to bind her as it would cause her pain. She later recalled that she knew she was going to survive when they agreed, however, she was terrified for Benedict as the person placed in the trunk is usually k*illed.

Fortunately, Benedict’s quick thinking likely saved his own life. He pleaded with the men, claiming he would die in the trunk and was worth more alive. After arguing amongst themselves, they moved him to the backseat with the others and demanded their bank cards.

Two and a half hours later, Benedict and his co-stars were released at a deserted farm in the middle of nowhere, blindfolded and bound to one another. Luckily, a passerby stumbled upon them and they were finally rescued.

It wasn’t until several years later that Benedict revealed the k*idnapping for the first time, with Denise following suit. Although their captors were never caught, it changed their lives in a profound way. Denise discovered a new love for comedy and gained a more light-hearted view of life while Benedict experienced a sense of vulnerability he had never felt before.

“I don’t take anything for granted anymore. It was a wake-up call, a reminder that life can be fragile and that you should never take your safety or your freedom for granted. It taught me that you come into this world as you leave it, on your own. It’s made me want to live a life slightly less ordinary.” — Benedict Cumberbatch

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