The casting for the Star Trek sequel came down to the wire and in a new interview, actor Benedict Cumberbatch reveals that he has a friend’s iPhone to thank for getting him the part. Details below. Cumberbatch also finally admitted that he is playing a bad guy, along with talking about working with Abrams and shooting at the Budweiser plant.
Benedict’s iPhone Star Trek Audition + Talks Abrams and Budgineering shoot
After talks with actor Benecio Del Toro broke down in late 2011, director JJ Abrams had to start over on his hunt for the bad guy in his Star Trek sequel. With shooting set to start in mid January, Abrams didn’t have a lot of time and according to a new interview (titled "From Sherlock to Star Trek") with the New York Times to promote Sherlock Season 2, Benedict Cumberbatch has a friend’s phone to thank for his getting the part. From the report:
Last December, on vacation in Gloucestershire, England, he got the call that Mr. Abrams wanted him to submit a videotaped audition for “the not-so-good guy” (in Mr. Cumberbatch’s words) in the “Star Trek” sequel — and could not find anyone to film it for him.
“We observe this little Judeo-Christian cult holiday called Christmas,” Mr. Cumberbatch said sarcastically. “Whereas, you know, some kids in this part of town” — he circled his hands in the Los Angeles air — “with their Crackberrys, don’t.”
In a friend’s kitchen late at night, an agitated and weary Mr. Cumberbatch recorded his audition on an iPhone — “I was pretty strung out,” he said, “so that went into the performance” — and sent it to Mr. Abrams, only to be told the director was also on vacation.
Mr. Abrams, who saw the recording a few days later and hired Mr. Cumberbatch, wrote in an e-mail that it was “one of the most compelling audition readings I’d ever seen.”
It’s worth noting that Cumberbatch finally admitted what we and Variety have already reported…that he is playing a villain in the Star Trek sequel.
The actor also talked to Zap2It, where he also talked Trek, giving some insight into the working conditions on the set:
"The movie goes very well," Cumberbatch says. "It’s very, very long hours, but it’s an incredible job. It’s phenomenal. J.J. brings it. It’s a very exciting set to be on. He’s very imaginative. He’s involved in the details, the acting and all the wonderful ideas he has for capturing stories in a fresh and imaginative way. Just the range of stuff I get to do in one day, it’s great. Also, what he’s asking me, it’s just wonderful. I can’t say much nicer than that. I’m basically raving about it, and I don’t have a gun pointed to my head. He’s a genuinely good human being, as well as being absurdly talented and popular. He’s just fantastically talented, just in payoffs and thrills and chills along the way."
He also talked about what it was like shooting at the Budweiser plant (used for Engineering on the Enterprise)
"It’s noisy," he says. "it’s very, very, very mind-numbingly noisy. It’s slightly like what you’d imagine they’d be playing in your earphones if you were being tortured by some foreign operative. It’s not particularly pleasant. And yet, it’s stunning, and it films beautifully. It’s incredible. It’s a working, functioning factory, and production doesn’t shut down for us being there. It’s fantastic, really beautiful."
And don’t forget to tune into the US premiere of Season 2 of Sherlock on PBS on May 6th.