The British actor appears towards the end of Sam Mendes’ First World War drama, but Johnson told his followers that, due to the director’s decision to shoot the film in one continuous take, he had to wait for six months – in character – to perform his scene.
He posted the tweets after a conversation he claimed to have had with Mendes at the Producers Guild of America Awards (PGAs) on Saturday (18 January). He joked to his followers that, because Cumberbatch had to wait for so long to perform his two-minute scene, he was paid $23m.
“Last night at the PGA awards, Mendes told me 1917 was ACTUALLY shot in one continuous take – if an actor flubbed a line they’d go all the way back and start again from the beginning,” Johnson said. “They paid Cumberbatch to show up every day and wait in that room at the end. He was there six months. They paid him $23m.”
Johnson told his followers that Mendes said the Sherlock actor would wait in character for a production walkie to keep him updated on the progress of the film. “A few times a day the walkie would squawk ‘going again’,”Johnson joked.
Many Twitter users took the bait.
“Hold up, you can get paid $23m just for sitting in a room all day?” one person tweeted, while another added: “For real, though. $23m for sitting in a trailer for six months. I understand how the economics goes, but that’s incredibly galling for a lot of people to hear.”
But others swiftly pointed out that Johnson was playing a big old prank on his followers.
Another quipped: “Rumour has it that Cumberbatch still waits in that room. If you listen closely, you might still hear him practising his lines.”
1917 was a surprise winner of the Best Film – Drama trophy at the Golden Globes earlier this month. It’s considered a frontrunner to win Best Picture at the 2020 Oscars alongside South Korean film Parasite and Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
The ceremony takes place on 9 February.
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