Meryl watches Benedict play Sherlock Holmes

Benedict Cumberbatch has joked that he’s taken Meryl Streep‘s crown as the world’s greatest living actor.

Benedict – who was recently called ‘the best actor in the world’ by Star Trek Into Darkness director JJ Abrams – is starring alongside Meryl in upcoming film August: Osage Country and the pair have a mutual appreciation of each other.

‘Oh, she knows that [I’m the best],’ quips Benedict, 36.

‘She knows she’s number two. Seriously, though, she’s not only one of the all-time greats, she’s also a human being rather than a film star. That’s the best thing of all.

‘Oh, and she’s a Sherlock fan. The first time we met, she came up to me and said, “Everyone in our family loves your show. And I just adore it.”‘

And modest Benedict jokes that the accolade given to him by JJ was part of a secret deal.

‘Ha! That means I now have to say he’s the greatest director in the world,’ the actor tells S Magazine.

‘It’s a pact we have.’

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Anna Francis