AUDIO: Brent Spiner On Benedict Cumberbatch Asking Him & Patrick Stewart If Star Trek Would Ruin Career

In a new podcast, Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Brent Spiner discusses a chance encounter that he and TNG co-star Sir Patrick Stewart had with Benedict Cumberbatch not long after Benedict had landed the role in JJ Abrams’ Star Trek sequel. Below you can listen to Brent recreate the discussion, including doing the voices of Cumberbatch and Stewart. Listen to it below, and there are no spoilers.


An Android, a Knight, and a [SPOILER] walk into a restaurant…

Over the weekend the Chris Hardwick recorded his excellent Nerdist podcast at Phoenix Comicon and his special guest was Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Brent Spiner. The discussion covered many topics from Trek, to Spiner’s career, to Brent’s favorite impersonator. It’s worth listening to the whole thing (download it at ).

One of the more interesting bits was Spiner amusingly recreating an encounter he and Sir Patrick Stewart had with Benedict Cumberbatch, who wanted to know what he was getting into now that he had signed on for the Star Trek sequel. To enhance the experience, Spiner did spot on impressions of both Stewart and Cumberbatch. Listen to it below.

Clip courtesy of Nerdist. Thanks to Aika for the tip.

Sort by:   newest | oldest
Harry Ballz
May 31, 2012 3:38 pm

It would have been fun to be a fly on the wall at THAT meeting!

May 31, 2012 3:47 pm

Heh-hee. Brent’s a real raconteur.

That’s not French for breast inspector incidentally… :p

Sebastian S.
May 31, 2012 3:49 pm

Maybe Cumberbatch shouldn’t see Spiner’s “Fresh Hell”…. ;-P
Just kidding; I really LIKE Fresh Hell. Funny stuff…

#1 Harry Ballz

Me, too.
Would’ve been like an episode of “Inside the Star Trek Actors Studio.”


Harry Ballz
May 31, 2012 3:57 pm

Sebastian, keep in mind, if the fly happened to eat any of the British fare, curtains!

May 31, 2012 3:59 pm

Who’s career has been damaged bt Trek? I think Cumberhunk should talk to Chris Pine.

May 31, 2012 4:26 pm

Any news on why the Enterprise crew is wearing Soviet/Nazi military type uniforms (with Starfleet emblems on the hats)? And why, if there is no Khan, Pegg and Yeltsin are posing in those uniforms with a young Indian actress in the Brazilian pics?

Star Trek: Daughter of Nazi Khan!

May 31, 2012 4:29 pm

Cumberbatch had success before Trek (Sherlock) that will continue after Trek. The only concern might be if Trek is your first big success. Then there seems to be typecasting and actors have a hard time getting away from it.

May 31, 2012 4:35 pm

When it’s done properly, Bubble & Squeak is delicious.

Sebastian S.
May 31, 2012 4:38 pm

6. THX~

Pike had a hat, too. In “The Cage.” ;-)

And the ‘Soviet/Nazi” uniforms are no more striking or bizarre than the U-Boat/Nautilus crew duds they wore in “The Wrath of Khan” (and we all got used to those fairly quickly). And the dress grays look not too dissimilar from the dress/cadet uniforms in ST09, really.

#4. HarryBallz~

No bangers and mash for you, eh mate? ;-D

Karen Brown
May 31, 2012 4:39 pm

A series is different from a movie. Harder to be typecast by a character you play once every few years than one you play every week FOR years. But if you were already known before the show, and you make sure you do things during it, typecasting can be avoided. It helps that Trek fans, by and large, tend to support the show’s actors’ other projects. (At least now, dunno about during the early 70’s.)

May 31, 2012 4:54 pm

@10 Agreed! When your on a TV show for a decade playing the same character every week it tends to get ingrained in people.

Although I think there still quite a few actors from Trek who have surpassed the typecasting and some who have embraced it, I don’t see too many who are all together bitter.

May 31, 2012 4:54 pm


Those uniforms look like they’re straight out of Spaceballs!

The Troubled Tribble
May 31, 2012 4:56 pm

I think it’s a fair question.

Actors break down into pretty much two categories, those that are in it for the fame & money and those that are in it for the love of giving a good performance.

Benny, like Sir Patrick is in it for the latter. Appearing in something as pop and Hollywood as Trek could stop him getting the really character and performance driven roles that someone like him lives for.

May 31, 2012 5:01 pm

I didn’t hear a Cumberbatch impression, though Spiner’s ‘Sir Patrick’ is quite good.

May 31, 2012 5:56 pm

Brent’s Stewart impression was amazing. It seems like, though, Star Trek didn’t really ruine their careers since neither of them had much of a TV career before Trek. I think it was just a high point. And of course for Sir Patrick, he went back to what he did before, Shakespeare, and seems to do quite well with it.

Sebastian S.
May 31, 2012 6:13 pm

# 12


Maybe in the new timeline, they’ve broken the warp barrier and have now reached ludicrous speed!


May 31, 2012 6:43 pm


They’ve gone to plaid!

May 31, 2012 6:55 pm

LOL, I love Brent Spiner, and his Patrick Stewart impression is hilariously good! This guy is definitely one of my favorite celebrities. Very polite and respectful, but with a great and tasteful sense of humor. God bless him.

May 31, 2012 6:58 pm

I hate it when the interviewer talks over the interviewee

May 31, 2012 7:16 pm


Justin Olson
May 31, 2012 7:39 pm

I like how Matt Mira was touting himself over and over as the biggest TNG fan… and yet when Spiner says he was on the Tonight Show during TNG’s second season on Oscar night and then speculates it was probably 1988, Mira corrects him and says it was definitely 1987.

Actually, it would have been Wednesday, March 29, 1989 and just airing that week would have been “The Royale.”

Suck it, Mira! :^ )

May 31, 2012 7:52 pm

Heck, Tom Hardy had the pretty awful Nemesis on his early resume and he rebounded just fine.

May 31, 2012 7:52 pm

Thanks for this! It’s hilarious!

May 31, 2012 7:55 pm

Plus, Brit actors (even the big stars) really are working actors — they’re in all sorts of series and plays that we might not see here, because we watch crap. :)

May 31, 2012 8:04 pm

She just cumberbatched! HAHA.

Harry Ballz
May 31, 2012 8:13 pm


Sebastian, forgive me, I was raised in a Scottish household where we ate “mince and totties” five nights a week. There are only so many ways one can “jazz up” that dish!


May 31, 2012 9:29 pm

Benedict should take a look at Tom Hardy’s career and feel a whole lot better. Tom was the lead antagonist of what many agree was the worst, most insulting Star Trek film of all time. His career turned out allright.

May 31, 2012 9:34 pm

BC: Brent, will it ruin my career?

BS: Of course not, haven’t you seen Fresh Hell?


May 31, 2012 9:44 pm

What ‘nazi’ uniforms are we talking about? The audio segment above doesn’t have any images of the actors in any odd uniforms. Where are you getting this?

May 31, 2012 9:54 pm


Here you go. Scroll down to the last picture.

Sebastian S.
May 31, 2012 9:55 pm

# 26 Harry Ballz

That bad, no? :-o

May 31, 2012 9:55 pm

Will it ruin Star Trek’s career?

May 31, 2012 10:09 pm

I’d never heard of this Cumberbun guy until he got the Trek sequel job.

May 31, 2012 10:16 pm

Oh, look he has just been cast in “Twelve Years a Slave” alongside Fassbender and Pitt. Directed by Mcqueen.

May 31, 2012 10:30 pm

30 – I’ve always said the Star Trek AOK (Abrams-Orci-Kurtzman) universe is an alternate universe, but now proof it is a MIRROR universe!

Buzz Cagney
May 31, 2012 10:44 pm

But Patrick and Spiner were hardly megastars before they got TNG. Their careers were only ever going to be enhanced by getting that gig.
Cumberbatch, on the other hand, is very much on the rise.

May 31, 2012 11:03 pm

Why is Anton wearing that….hat? It looks so…well that’s a very adorable child. Looks like she got a picture with just about all the main cast members. Nice to see that they’re all alive and well.

May 31, 2012 11:13 pm

I’m not sure who the interviewer was but he seemed kind of juvenile. He didn’t seemed too impressed with Benedict, which is okay–everyone’s free to their own thoughts.

But seeing as you’re an interviewer, and could possibly interview the very person you mock (not the “just breaking the ice” type mocking, but the childish, behind their back type)…maybe you should keep your mouth shut and let your current guest speak, instead of trying to be mister funny at the expense of a future hot commodity and may I partially add, a very handsome and proper man!

Sorry, had to gush! ;)

Bill Peters
May 31, 2012 11:31 pm

One should Mention that Star Trek 09 hasn’t Exactly Runed the Job Prospects for the main cast! So I think it will have very little impact on his future Jobs in Holylwood!

Khan is not the easy route
June 1, 2012 1:37 am

@27 Tom Hardy was an established and fairly well known actor prior to Star Trek Nemesis. Nobody outside of Star Trek fans saw the movie, so it’s hard for the movie to hurt his career.

Cumberbatch is established, but not fairly well known. Trek will help change that for the better – if the movie is good.

June 1, 2012 2:01 am

Saw those commie uniforms in a facebook post by James Cawley yesterday… but I find no news anywhere about it.

The Last Vulcan
June 1, 2012 5:05 am

One more time… for the posterity of my posterior. :)

1. The “leaked” pics with the old TOS unis were staged by JJ to throw everyone off the scent.

2. Cumby is wearing prosthetics and does not appear in the way he is shown in those pics.

3. The old TOS unis will not be in the new film and neither will any of those “leaked scenes”.

4. The commie unis are dress unis and the daily unis are the ones with the splash of color on the shoulder.

That is the last word of The Last Vulcan. He speaks with the voice of Surak. It is written in the Kir’Shara. ;)

June 1, 2012 7:46 am

If you immerse totally into Star Trek and don’t “cultivate ” other options, Star Trek can be a curse. Bill Shatner as a mediocre actor, and Leonard Nimoy, being so talented as he is, also had BIG problems with typecasting. The others in TOS vanished. In STTNG, the same thing thing happened. The only survivors were Stewart, Frake, Burton, with HUGE limitations. The other treks, well, I guess nobody survived. With the movies rebbot I guess will be different, because the actors who joined the cast knew the situation e protected themselves with their contracts, which allowed them to star in other major motion pictures. And I doubt they will make more than 3 pictures. Hugs to everybody here on Trekmovie. Have a good day.

June 1, 2012 9:39 am

Just because it ruined theirs is does not mean it will ruin yours Benedict.

And there is always the option of a cameo in fresh hell if it does.

La Reyne d'Epee
June 1, 2012 10:13 am

I’ve read that Cumberbatch was offered Dr Who after Tennant left and asked Tennant’s advice on the same subject – and opted not to take the role. I assume he considered taking on that particular iconic role was too restricting in a way this one (whatever it may be) isn’t…

June 1, 2012 11:18 am

Cumberbatch is better to hold out to be the next Bond after Daniel Craig.

June 1, 2012 11:39 am


Vulcans lie.

June 1, 2012 11:41 am

I think it was probably a joke…

Anyway, Pine has gone from unknown to getting all these big roles – because of Trek. And look at the guy who played Kirk’s father in 2009, too: he’s gone from an Aussie soap opera to big budget hollywood films. Thanks to Trek.

Star Trek will get you well-known: it will give you an opportunity. BC won’t be in another one: he’ll be marooned…I think…somewhere. So he has nothing to worry about.

If you’re talented enough, you can make a name and be remembered for lots of stuff. Actors do seem strange people though. Even Olivier was worried people only (only!) saw him as a Shakespearean actor…

June 1, 2012 12:04 pm

Anyone notice that everyone’s hair is parted on the wrong side? Like.. everyone’s character in the movie is parted on the other side of the head than the TV show… I always thought that was weird.

pissed off virgin vulcan basement nerd
June 1, 2012 1:22 pm

I think it’ll hurt his career about as much as STVI hurt Christopher Plummer’s career. Give me a damn break.