UPDATED: The Star Trek sequel starts shooting in just a couple of weeks and the team behind the film are busy casting roles for the film. TrekMovie has exclusively learned that this week JJ Abrams and his team have cast British actor (and Sherlock star) Benedict Cumberbatch for a major role in the film. UPDATE: Cumberbatch will be playing the villain.
UPDATE 2: Sherlock star Cumberbatch cast as Star Trek villain
TrekMovie has learned Benedict Cumberbatch, star of the hit BBC series Sherlock, has been tapped to play a major role in the 2013 Star Trek sequel.
Following the first posting of this article Variety confirmed the TrekMovie report and also reported that Cumberbatch will be playing the villain. TrekMovie has followed up and confirmed this report as well.
JJ Abrams and his team originally were considering Benicio Del Toro for the role of the villain, but talks broke down about a month ago. Following that the team began looking at other actors including Edgar Ramirez. A source tells TrekMovie that Cumberbatch "blew them all away" with his audition.
Benedict Cumberbatch to play villain in 2013 Star Trek sequel
The 36 year-old English actor has a TV and film career that dates back a decade, but he is best known for his critically-acclaimed role as the star of Sherlock, the new BBC series created by Steven Moffat (Doctor Who) which brings Sherlock Holmes into a modern setting. Cumberbatch received his third BAFTA nomination and also won a Broadcasting Press Award and a UK National Television Award for his work in Sherlock. In 2006 he was given accolades (including a BAFTA nomination) for playing physicist Stephen Hawking in the BBC biopic Hawking. Indicating his rising star, British GQ Magazine named Cumberbatch actor of the year for 2011.
Cumberbatch has also been picking up more film work recently. He has roles in the new Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Stephen Spielberg’s War Horse (both currently in theaters). He is also providing the voice and motion-capture for Smaug the dragon in Peter Jackson’s forthcoming Hobbit films.
Here is a scene featuring Cumberbatch from the second season of Sherlock (which premiered on the BBC last Sunday).
And here he is in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy.
The Star Trek sequel is slated to begin shooting on January 15th and will be released May 17, 2013. Stay tuned to TrekMovie for all the news related to this project.
UPDATE 1: Little more info and Lindelof on Cumberbatch
Apparently TrekMovie isn’t the only outlet that got word of the casting of Cumberbatch. Deadline is also reporting the casting as an "exclusive" tonight. Their reporting also that it is a "lead role" with no word on "whether he’ll be a hero or villain."
Two days ago Star Trek sequel co-writer/producer Damon Lindelof sent out a tweet saying that "something big" had just happened with the Star Trek movie. Tonight Lindelof tweeted again, pointing to the Cumberbatch casting article with a note saying "That is the cool thing to which I referred? #BoldlyGo"