How Much Weight did Benedict Cumberbatch Lose for the Courier?


Renowned English actor Benedict Cumberbatch is no stranger to transforming his body for movie roles. One of his most significant transformations occurred for the 2020 historical spy film “The Courier,” in which he lost 21 pounds to portray the character Greville Wynne​.

This article will delve into the actor’s weight loss journey, his approach to physical transformation, and the inspiration behind his dedication.

The Transformation: Cumberbatch’s Weight Loss for “The Courier”

In “The Courier,” Cumberbatch played the role of Greville Wynne, a businessman turned spy who transported top-secret information from Soviet agent Oleg Penkovsky to London during the Cold War​.

The actor Cumberbatch revealed that he lost around 21 pounds (9KG) for this role through dieting and an extreme exercise regimen​.

The process was not easy for him, particularly when he had to return to his usual shape for his subsequent role as Doctor Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”​.

The Process: Cumberbatch’s Approach to Weight Loss

Cumberbatch’s weight loss was achieved in a relatively short period of three months, requiring a strict diet and intense workout routine​.

He detailed some of the key components of his weight loss strategy –

  • Opting for a healthy way to lose weight, involving a balanced diet and regular exercise.
  • Following a strict diet and workout regimen.
  • Consuming lots of water, healthy foods, and engaging in physical activities like swimming.
  • Following the 5:5 format of intermittent dieting.
  • Practicing yoga and meditation.
  • Consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
  • Creating and following the “Shakespeare diet”​.​

His fitness routine was not only about losing weight but also about maintaining physical strength and endurance.

For his role as Doctor Strange, he engaged in high-intensity exercises, including pull-ups, press-ups, and dips​.

The Inspiration: Paying Tribute to Greville Wynne

Cumberbatch’s decision to lose weight for “The Courier” was not about self-improvement. Instead, it was a tribute to the man he was portraying. Greville Wynne was captured and starved for 18 months in prison during the Cold War, and the actor wanted to honor the reality of Wynne’s experience by losing weight and displaying a realistic representation of his deteriorating health​.

The Impact: Emotional and Physical Vulnerability

The actor shared that the weight loss process made him feel “emotionally and physically very vulnerable,” which he found helpful in portraying a character who endured similar hardship for months​.

Cumberbatch’s dedication to accurately representing Wynne’s experience reflects his commitment to his craft and the responsibility he feels when portraying real-life figures on screen​.


Benedict Cumberbatch’s weight loss for “The Courier” is a testament to his dedication and commitment to his roles. Whether he’s portraying a Marvel superhero or a real-life historical figure, the actor’s approach to physical transformation goes beyond mere appearance.

It’s about honoring the characters he plays and bringing their experiences to life on screen. His weight loss journey for “The Courier” is a shining example of his dedication to this craft.

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