Benedict Cumberbatch Talks About Jumping Into Star Trek Sequel With Little Prep

Much of the buzz around the new Star Trek sequel focuses on actor Benedict Cumberbatch. In a new interview the actor doesn’t reveal any spoilers, however he does talk about what it was like being thrown into Trek with little time to prepare for the role, and how his increased fame is changing his life. 


Cumberbatch talks taking on Trek

The UK’s Telegraph has an in-depth profile of Star Trek sequel actor Benedict Cumberbatch.

Did he ever doubt he would be able to sustain an acting career, I ask. ‘It sounds really arrogant but I don’t think I did, no,’ he says. ‘I’m not someone who’s naturally confident, I just knew no matter what it held for me, I was going to pursue it.’ There are still moments, he says, when his confidence falters. The first day he stepped on set of the new Star Trek film, joining an illustrious line of British stars who have played the villain in a Hollywood blockbuster, he had a momentary feeling of being out of his depth. ‘I didn’t know what I was going to do and I had very little time to establish the character in that franchise,’ he says.

The reason behind Cumberbatch having little time is that he was cast only a few weeks before production started.  Apparently he worked through it as all the feedback from the production has been about how Cumberbatch’s performance has been very well received by the producer’s and the studio.

The article also covers how Cumberbatch’s life is being transformed by Star Trek and some other new big projects…

Cumberbatch is on his way to becoming a major player in the film industry. When we meet he has just returned from six months abroad, filming parts in both The Hobbit and J J Abrams’s Star Trek sequel – two films the sheer scale of which exceed anything he has been involved in before. By the time you read this article, he will be in New Orleans, starring as a 19th-century slave owner alongside Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender in Steve McQueen’s new film, Twelve Years a Slave. As Cumberbatch puts it, ‘It’s all gone a little bit vertiginous recently.

‘Fame is a weird one,’ he adds. ‘You need to distance yourself from it. People see a value in you that you don’t see yourself. So when I’m told of my sex-symbol status and all that nonsense I find it laughable, silly. I mean, look.’ He gestures towards his face. ‘I’m 36 and I’ve been looking at this same old mush all my life.’

Cumberbatch and Rebecca Hall in "Parade’s End"

Cumberbatch in Parade’s End

The focus of the interview is the new mini-series Parade’s End, which is a BBC/HBO co-production which premieres in the UK on August 24th (no word on the HBO airing). It is based on four 1920s novels of Ford Maddox Ford. Here is the trailer.

Thanks to LJ for the tip

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August 12, 2012 9:44 am

Is it so much to ask for the powers that be to tell us what his character is? Sheesh!

Harry Ballz
August 12, 2012 9:45 am

Cumberbatch is a superb actor. I’m sure he’ll be great!

August 12, 2012 9:50 am

One UK article says he is Khan. I tend to believe it. He series starts 24 August not 16th. From feedback I’ve received he is astounding in the role.

August 12, 2012 10:10 am

…Steve McQueen has a new film 32 years after he died?

August 12, 2012 10:10 am

I’ve liked the ‘batch in everything I’ve seen him do. For those that doubt his acting chops, check out the “Hawking” tv movie where he played the brilliant physicist at the onset of his disease.

El Chup
August 12, 2012 10:11 am

“Original British Drama”

Good to see us making an effort these days to churn out some good quality stuff.

El Chup
August 12, 2012 10:12 am


Please, don’t humiliate yourself with ignorance.

Elias Javalis
August 12, 2012 10:19 am

He will make the franchise richer, i am sure!

Red Dead Ryan
August 12, 2012 10:20 am


No, there is a director who happens to share the same name. C’mon, man, its not hard to figure that one out.

August 12, 2012 10:35 am


Classy M
August 12, 2012 10:36 am

It’s always a treat when one of your favourite actors appears in one of your favourite franchises. I can’t wait to see what Benedict makes of his part in the new movie – whatever that part may be.

The clip of Parade’s End above is actually a BBC2 ‘coming dramas’ trailer. The Beeb released another last night which is Parade’s End specific. Here’s the link:

August 12, 2012 10:38 am

“… I had very little time to establish the character in that franchise,’ he says.”

So, he didn’t have much background material to draw upon or he didn’t have much time to get into character? Either way, he’s capable of bringing a very powerful performance to the screen.

August 12, 2012 11:17 am

Everyone should calm down about the Steve McQueen line by #4… It was obviously a joke. The guy even knew how long McQueen had been dead.

My god, did you people wake up on the wrong side of bed or do you just enjoy trying to sound smart?

Jim, London
August 12, 2012 11:39 am

For the love of god when are they going to release a teaser trailer?!?!?!?

Is this punishment because of my one man campaign to have Tom Hanks cast as Commodore Decker??

Dee - lvs moon' surface
August 12, 2012 11:55 am

“old mush”…. LOL… Oh Charming Villain!!! … ;-) :-)

August 12, 2012 11:59 am

It would be wonderful to know who he’s playing… and the title of the film he’s playing it in.
This level of secrecy is silly.

Anthony Thompson
August 12, 2012 12:52 pm

“I had very little time to *establish* the character in that franchise”. The wording of that certainly indicates that he has created a new character.

No Khan
August 12, 2012 1:05 pm

#17, I agree. Unless he means make Khan his own. Or the guy that kills Khan & takes over.

August 12, 2012 1:38 pm

He seems genuinely appreciative and humble. I find that in itself charming by today’s standards. (and that is not only for celebrities.)

It says volumes of his talent to be able to juggle the demands of at least 2-3 major films and keep his sanity. I am looking forward to seeing more his work, I am enjoying Sherlock in the meantime. :)

August 12, 2012 1:42 pm

@2… I don’t think they will tell us… I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but if his character is Khan then we will be in the dark until the last possible moment due to the filmmakers fear that if it’s released too soon, then the fandom will backlash and have enough time to fester to hurt the new movie’s overall performance.

One might argue that Abrams and his team are making this not just for the fans but for everyone. Star Trek 12, 2 , or whatever it’s called can’t survive without the millions of Trek fans coming to support it.

If we are as hotly divided over the issue as the studio thinks and Benedict is Khan, then get ready, because “the wait” won’t be over until weeks before the film. And yes, this does imply vague trailers about the movie’s contents.

My two cents… if I’m wrong, then I’m wrong. I’m just glad we have new Trek coming soon and our beloved franchise is alive and well once again.

August 12, 2012 1:44 pm

Correction on post #20 . . . My reply was directed at #1 and not at #2… sorry for the confusion.

William Kirk
August 12, 2012 2:00 pm

I think he is Khan…

Red Dead Ryan
August 12, 2012 2:19 pm

I’m sticking to my prediction of Khan until/unless it’s proven otherwise.

August 12, 2012 2:49 pm

The man in that photo screams KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!! to me.

August 12, 2012 2:54 pm

Please stop overestimating the “power” of the fans. It’s not helping our public image one bit.

August 12, 2012 3:01 pm

16. CmdrR – August 12, 2012
“It would be wonderful to know who he’s playing… and the title of the film he’s playing it in.
This level of secrecy is silly.”

What level of secrecy are you talking about?

All the… “evidence”, so far, points to Khan!

You have to be delusional or….Anthony Thompson to think otherwise!!!

Me? I think Anthony’s got a point…


August 12, 2012 3:17 pm

It is getting pretty rediculous. Just tell us who it is already! Those who will complain that it’s Khan will have complained if BC was playing Redshirt Ensign #3. Since the studio/producers seemingly have no interest in promoting the film, let us work up the buzz! We’ve got no title, no footage, no villain, and no god damn first officer to replace him. Or, something like that. We’ve waited 3 1/2 years through delays, side projects, and rumors. Is it so much to ask for a morsel to get us excited again?

I’ve gone out of my way to watch some of BC’s work. The guy is off the charts amazing. While I thought Benecio Del Toro would’ve been the ideal pick for Khan due to his resemblance, there’s no doubt BC will be to this franchise what Ledger was to the Nolan Batman franchise. I believe in The ‘Batch! I would’ve loved (and who knows, it could happen) to see him play a young Chang. Am I the only one who could picture BC spinning in the command chair quoting Shakespeare?

August 12, 2012 3:27 pm

Way off-topic, but I thought everyone here would be interested. There’s a new article on featuring Leonard Nimoy’s appearance in a demonstration video for Magnavox Laserdisc players:

Sebastian S.
August 12, 2012 4:12 pm

# 16. CmdrR~


The level of cloak and dagger secrecy is silly; and it’s making me a bit apathetic, to be honest. I won’t be giving a real, concrete damn until I hear something on the record, and no more of these coy rumors and misdirection. This attitude of secrecy is a bit condescending, IMO.

August 12, 2012 4:24 pm

Leonard is the man! In the future, everyone will wear all white clothes. Magnavision was the model T of DVD. I owned two Laserdisc players and could not believe a movie could fit onto a CD sized disc.

Sebastian S.
August 12, 2012 4:49 pm

# 28


Thanks for posting that! Takes me back about 30 years. ;-D
My family had laserdisc and even CED videodiscs. We had ALL the losing formats in those days (think we even had a couple of 8-track players back then as well).

That was a hilarious video. ;-)

So Cumberbatch is in this? Huh. Any word on who he might be playing?


This is going to be a long year
August 12, 2012 5:37 pm

If we have to wait until the Bond movie for a teaser trailer this is going to be annoying. It would be nice to have the date of when the trailer will land.

But I have to give it to these guys. It has been a long time since a sci-fi movie had so few leaks. They must have wiped the minds of the cast and crew. Or they have very scary lawyers.

August 12, 2012 5:42 pm

What if Cumberbatch is Kang, Koloth or Kor?

August 12, 2012 5:44 pm

At this point I don’t really care who Cumberbatch will be playing in the Star Trek movie. All the faux secrecy drama created by Abrahms and the rest of the supreme crap have left me apathetic about the whole project. I’ll probably wait to catch a Saturday matinee three weeks after the opening for $5.

August 12, 2012 5:47 pm

We’ve got to be getting a teaser soon. I mean Man of Steel has their teaser out and that comes out a month later than Trek does.

This is going to be a long year
August 12, 2012 5:58 pm

Are they likely to release a teaser on the web first or in theaters?

Usually there is some buzz leading up to the trailer release.

I’m surprised Anthony hasn’t given us some hints on this.

This is going to be a long year
August 12, 2012 6:20 pm

For these types of movies don’t the producers start dropping hints with the fan sites about what is around the corner to start up the viral marketing?

August 12, 2012 6:32 pm

He couldnt be more adorable. He’s both physical and cerebral. I’ve joined the ranks of Cumberbabes!

Commodore Adams
August 12, 2012 6:53 pm

Wonderful actor, can’t wait to see him as a villain in Star Trek. Still wondering who he will be playing considering they were looking at Latin actors. I am also getting very antsy for a teaser trailer….9 months to go boys lets get her going.

Adolescent Nightmare
August 12, 2012 7:27 pm

Maybe they are sad that so many people are going to end up saying Cumby was the better Khan. I’ve seen how they get when you don’t worship the same things they do.

August 12, 2012 7:38 pm

Khan, GaryMitchell, or Harry Mudd or somebody else…it will be a great performance…He is s superb actor and I know it will be great!

August 12, 2012 7:38 pm

25. Amen.

37. Yes, but Man of Steel started filming a year ago, six months before Trek started filming. They were done a lot earlier. It’s only been just over two months since Trek finished filming.

Heck. We’re seeing Skyfall trailers now — three months before it hits theatres. The teaser came out in late May, just under 6 months before the release.

I predict: no teaser until at least mid-fall. I hope I’m wrong.

August 12, 2012 7:55 pm

It is time the production team took a moment to remember what it is like NOT being in in the production and let out some “spoilers” like guest character names.

It’s hard to get too excited about Alice Eve, Peter Weller, Benedict Cumberbatch, Noel Clarke, Nazneen Contractor, or Anjini Taneja Azhar or anyone else when you have NO IDEA who they are playing.

At least we know who Bruce Greenwood is, but these guys need to lighten up and let some info out.

‘Man of Steel’ already has a trailer and it comes out a month later.

Time to start generating buzz instead of killing interest with a total lockdown on information.

August 12, 2012 8:11 pm

45. I always forget Weller is in this film as well, in an apparently major role. All the focus has been on who The Batch is playing, but it wouldn’t shock me if Weller steals the show. Could he be playing a Paxton decendent (or Paxton himself, say held in suspended animation) who uses Khan and the augments as the muscle to take over Earth and rid it of “inferior races”? Even if one is unfamiliar with Enterprise, his character and backstory wouldn’t be difficult to explain nor take much time.

Bill Peters
August 12, 2012 8:24 pm

So looking Forward to the Character this man will play.

August 12, 2012 9:16 pm

@45. ProtoVulcan – August 12, 2012

Totally agree with you there. It is becoming really ridiculous that they are holding basic information about the movie.

I don’t understand the wisdom of that.

Darth Doorchime
August 12, 2012 9:51 pm

You people sound like you demand to know what is in the Christmas wrapping before you open your presents.

August 12, 2012 10:02 pm

I was actually convinced with that statement that he’s playing an original character.