Benedict Cumberbatch Auditioned For Star Trek With iPhone + Talks About Shooting At Bud Plant

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.


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The villain is going to blow up engineering!

And there’s a slight mistake in the title. It should be “But Plant” not “Bud Planet”. Unless of course this is the planet from Stone Trek where the oceans are made of beer.

Let’s have some fun and guess which villain he’s going to play. Let’s use some logic shall we?

The evidence. They wanted a Hispanic actor. Once De Toro said no, they looked at other Hispanic actors. Hmmm. Wasn’t Ricardo Montalban from Mexico but played Khan with his Hispanic accent intact. Leaked video showed Cumberbatch as a human being. No pointed ears or ridges. Probably human. Cumberbatch beats the daylights out of Spock, who as a Vulcan is stronger than humans. Chokes Spock with one hand. Must be shot with a phaser by Uhura. Looks like a superhuman to me. Cumberbatch had to dye his hair black and work out for the role. The conclusion? The villain is Sherlock Holmes. I keeed. I keeed. It’s KHAAAAAN!

Let me just say, I’m not rooting for Khan. Been there. Done that. Of course, it could still be a great film. We’ll just have to wait.

But let’s look at some evidence against it being Khan. The video showed Cumberbatch with pointed sideburns. Looked like he wore a Starfleet undershirt. Could he be a member of Starfleet? But then why dye his hair? Why was there a desire to cast a Hispanic actor? And don’t say the Latino audience. Heck, they could have cast Sofia Vergara to be Kirk’s love interest, if they wanted that. Yeah, I know she’s a little old for Kirk but maybe she could pass on some wisdom to him. ;-)

That leaves Alice Eve… Okay, she’s English. She’s the future Queen of England!

But what if he is one of Laas and Odo’s brothers?

For tribble’s sake, they’re using the Budweiser plant for engineering AGAIN? Won’t they ever learn?

The return of Budgeneering!

“Star Trek: For My Leg is Hollow, and I Have Touched Point-Three-Oh”

Excellent! I hope this supposed villan destroys engineering/the Stardrive of the JJ-1701!

Where has he admitted to being the villain?

Yeah, I hope he will destroy the budgineering at the beginning of the movie so that it will be perfectly reasonable to redecorate it and make it look like it’s supposed to.

Bud plant again? Please nooooooo…….

You know, with that Starfleet shirt and when I saw that Alice Eve was cast the first thing that popped into my mind was Gary Mitchell and Dr. Elizabeth Dehner. How awesome would an updated “Where No Man Has Gone Before” be! It does fit with the super-human thing as Gary Mitchell is shot with a phaser.

Bad news then, I was so hoping we would get a proper Starfleet engine room this time, consistant with prvious designs. Well all I can hope is that it is better dressed and reflects a clen engine room of the 23rd Century, not a badly dressed brewery which I could tell was a brewery in the movie.

Dr. Cochrane to J.J. : “To hell with the Budgeneering!!”

His hair isn’t black, it’s brown. look in the fight scene. And in Mirror, Mirror Spock was brought to the point of death by breaking a skull over his head, so he can’t be that strong. And Khan wasn’t pale!

Orci again lied, this time about redesigning Budgeneering, just last time about building Enterprise on the surface. Outrageous and disrespectful to the fans.

I don’t like Budgineering either, but at this point? I don’t really care anymore. Every movie and TV show will make occasional choices (aesthetic or otherwise) that won’t always agree with the audience. It’s the nature of pop art (movies included). I don’t like it personally, but it’s not really that big a deal. When I look at the big picture of ST09? Budgineering didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the movie as a whole, so it’s OK.

Maybe, with luck, they might dress it up a bit more with new CGI set extensions (a refit while the ship was at earth, maybe) to disguise it a bit better, but if not?
Meh… I’m OK with it. ;-)

“He also talked about what it was like shooting at the Budweiser plant (used for Engineering on the Enterprise)”


The Budweiser Plant again? Really? The bridge looks awesome yet engineering steers the production from one extreme to another. RE: Engineering: I was hoping for MORE in the sequel. More dazzling set design/imagination. Oh well . . .

Y’know, it’s possible that they’re going to add more set dressing to the Bud plant like they wanted to in the first film.

3. You don’t see many ginger villains do you? Donald Trump and (maybe) Brody in Homeland aside…

5. Not budgineering. Something Else. Cryogenic transportation in light ale, perhaps…


Budweisser the final front beer.

“Not so good guy”? Hmmm…shades of Section 31?

Too bad about the Bud plant. I personally think it’s a distraction….I mean, it’s obviously a beer plant and I think that each time those scenes appear. But whatever, that’s their choice and I know it’s likely for budget reasons. So, I’m cool with it

Cumberbatch is filming scenes in engineering. He plays the villain. I wonder if was filming a fight scene with Chris Pine there?

Kind of like the Khan-Kirk fight in “Space Seed”.

Clearly the villain is Khan.


That should read: “I wonder if HE was filming a fight scene with Chris Pine there?”


@ #1: If he blew up engineering, that would make him a hero.

I have mixed feelings about the Bud plant. On the one hand, it gives a real sense of scale and reality to the Enterprise engineering room that’s occasionally been absent. On the other hand, it is, extremely obviously, a beer plant, and once you notice that fact, it’s almost impossible to ignore. Hopefully, they can at least do a better job of redressing and decorating it this time.

So happy that obnoxious fans and their terrible suggestions continue to fall on deaf ears.

Are we really calling it, “budgineering”?

How about “enginbeering” instead?

The Enterprise is now fueled by a Beerlithium compound that drives the ship at fast than beer speeds!

Beerlithium when fused with a Phaseolus Lunatus reaction can generate unimaginable power!

And this proves that those running this franchise have no clue about Star Trek or respect for the fans.

Seriously? That damn Budweiser brewing plant as engineering again? It didn’t look right the first time. It won’t look right this time.

Looks like I’ll be waiting for this film to hit Netflix streaming before I watch it.

Well that’s sad that they’re using that damn brewery for a set again. Too bad they didn’t listen to the fans on this one. Considering they could build a good engineering set for previous Star Trek movies with a much lower budget, there’s no excuse to use that totally unbelievable location to shoot at.

What most people forget is that most of the time, movie making is a business. They have to be cost conscious about the production. They’re obviously focusing their artistic efforts on the project as a whole, but whether or not money has something to do with the Budweiser Plant decision for use as Engineering is anyone’s guess.

I’m still psyched to see the move and can’t wait!

Maybe if the bridge had had a more industrialized look to it, the engineering set would have been better received—or vice versa. The shift from the Apple store to the Bud plant is a little jarring, visually. Takes you out of the story a moment, with a thought of: “Where is this? Is the ship still under construction?”

Most ships, fictional and real, pretty much have the same look throughout their decks. Abrams’ ship just doesn’t have that consistency we’re used to seeing. But maybe by the third movie we’ll be used to it. ;)


It’s a distraction for sure, but it should still be a kick ass movie!

@11. The story of Gary Mitchell has already been told for the new timeline. It was the first 2 issues of the IDW ongoing Star Trek comic book which is official material of the new timeline, and will be part of the build up to the next movie (confirmed by the series writer right here on these boards), and receives input from Bob and Alex as well.

@35: ” Takes you out of the story a moment, with a thought of: “Where is this? Is the ship still under construction?””

Ditto! I couldn’t have said that better. THAT’s precisely the feeling I had. Nailed it.

Engibeering is the term to beat. And is there any chance that Cumberbatch is just yanking our chains when he says they’re shooting in the plant again? I mean, would they really not shut down bottling for a major motion picture production? It sounds like a joke.

# 37. Azrael

And it was pretty interesting, too. Did you read it? All I can remember is Bob Orci saying something in these threads about connecting threads between the graphic novel series and the next movie (I think it was Orci).

Personally, I’m still betting on a new villain. And from the uniform and the Starfleet style sideburns I’d say some kind of rogue, mutated Starfleet officer (who is not Gary Mitchell). Maybe ANOTHER crewman affected by the Galactic Barrier? Remember, Dehner (who is NOT in the graphic novel version) said, “It just took a while longer for me, that’s all….”

Hhmmmm…. maybe that’s the connecting thread Orci referred to?

#40, I could not agree more!
Whoah! What is Cumberbatch doing in the Enterprise’s engine room? Oooooh the suspense!

Working on Christmas? Auditioning via mobile devices? That’s not exceptional. His acting skills are, and those got him the job. I’m so glad he’s in this film. I totally adore this guy.

@40. I did read it, I liked it, and I learned a very important thing about the next movie. Spock’s nerve pinch worked on Gary Mitchell, so Cumberbach’s character must be something pretty interesting.

Of course, everyone knows exactly what an engineering section containing a warp core in a 23rd century space ship that is capable of travelling many times the speed of light will look like…LOL

Anthony Pascale (AFIK) was the first person to refer to the JJ Abrams’ version of USS Enterprise’s engineering section as budgineering. Even now, when I read the word, “budgineering”, I think of budgies (budgerigars) – small birds which make lovely pets.

Anyway, Kirk needs a contented crew, especially when it comes to the Chief Engineer having access to Scotch Whisky – not this synthenol(sp?) crap either…:) and Chief Medical Officer and his Saurian brandy for medicinal purposes, of course. I suspect that Kirk is a wine and beer man – fine dining with a fine wine with a fine lady friend and beer when relaxing off-duty with a few shipmates.

“I like this ship!”

It is very possible Cumberbatch was told to be just let Journalists believe
That engineering was the same and just go along with it .
Looking forward to this film .

Ah crap!

It’s that frigging engineering again.

The first disappointment.

With 100 of millions of dollars thats the best they could do? a beer factory!iv never been that drunk or rich. If I was it would have to be whisky, I think the Enterprise engineering room full of wooden barrels with slowly maturing alcohol would be quite funny and more of a nod to the original series than beer is.

So we’ve confirmed that his character boards the Enterprise at some point.


Helooks human & is stronger than Spock.


Wears a black Starfleet shirt, which as we noted from ST’09 indicates non-active personel.


@48: Doesn’t remotely look anything near Indian, so we are somehow LESS ethnically diverse in 2012 than a 60’s TV episode that at least tried to find a guy with a tan…

Not Khan.


Ricardo Montalban didn’t look like an Indian Sikh, even with the wig and make-up in “Space Seed”. He looked even less so in “The Wrath Of Khan”.