4. He beat Leonardo di Caprio and Orlando Bloom for the lead in Perfume — his first lead role in a film.
But the pressure made him ill. “It was stress. I used to get really awful nerves and my stomach would go and I’d be curled up in bed not being able to move, literally paralysed by nerves.”
5. He is Judi Dench’s biggest fan.
“What I love most about Judi is her playfulness and lightness. You never feel anguished — as you sometimes can in rehearsals when you feel you are never going to get there. She is such a warm, loving person — but in an unforced way. Same with her acting — nothing effortful.”
6. Of all his roles to date, he most connected with John Keats in Bright Star.
He told the Telegraph in 2012, “Oh, Keats, I think. Perhaps because he’s a more distant figure. And because it’s such a touching story, of course.”
7. Just listen to him reading To Autumn by John Keats.
8. He has a non-identical twin brother named James.
His brother is “6-foot and fair and doesn’t act”. Whishaw’s mother was also a non-identical twin.
9. He paid his way through RADA by doing adverts for Birdseye.
10. He’s a Shakespeare nerd.
He told TimeOut, “When Sam Mendes called [about Skyfall] I thought we were going to talk about Shakespeare.”
11. He played Hamlet at the Old Vic a year after leaving drama school.
The performance was nominated in the Best Actor honours in the 2005 Laurence Olivier and Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards and Outstanding Newcomer in the Evening Standard Awards.
13. This GIF of him preparing for the role of Ariel in The Tempest.
14. He sings on the soundtrack to The Tempest.
15. He’s going to play Herman Melville in 2014, alongside Cillian Murphy and Chris Hemsworth.
16. He’s a massive PJ Harvey fan.
“I have this obsession with PJ Harvey, a rock star I’m a complete anorak about. I’ve got every album and I’ve been to every gig and I’d just like to be her. That would be so much fun! I want to stand up there and sing, and just become her. That would be such a buzz.”
17. He can’t seem to put on weight.
“I’d love to not be this shape, I really would. I’ve gone on workout regimes but I seem to have a system that is very resistant to changing.
‘Having said that, by the time I’m 35 I’ll probably be flabby and fat.”
18. He’s played a woman on stage before.
In His Dark Materials at the National Theatre. “Yeah, I was a few parts. One of them was bear and one of them was a witch. There was a gaggle of witches, all played by women, and because they were a bit short on women in the cast and I was very skinny — and still am — they dragged me in to being a witch… There were several other guys who were dragged into being witches as well but they were too masculine-looking and were jettisoned. Whereas I was kept on for the entire run.”
19. He announced his wedding with pride.
His spokesperson confirmed: “Ben has never hidden his sexuality, but like many actors he prefers not to discuss his family or life outside of his work. Due to speculation, I can confirm that Ben and Mark entered into a civil partnership in August 2012. They were proud to do so and are very happy.”