Benedict Cumberbatch has landed a leading role in JJ Abrams' Star Trek sequel, apparently as the sequel's big bad, although JJ Abrams has cryptically stated, "Who said he's our villain?" The director did reveal that the Sherlock star was cast for multiple reasons, his name being one of them. "We asked for someone with the most awesome name in history, ever," Abrams joked, "and Benedict Cumberbatch showed up, so we were like, 'You're cast!'"
The 35-year-old actor is also voicing Smaug the dragon and the Necromancer in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings prequels, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again.Abrams added, "He's a genius. Honestly, he's just an incredible actor.If you've seen his work in Sherlock, he's got incredible skills. He's an amazing stage actor. He did amazing work [on stage] in Frankenstein. He's brilliant. You try to cast people who are great, and we got lucky."
In the long-awaited follow-up to Abrams' 2009 Trek reboot, Cumberbatch will be joining other British recruits, including Alice Eve of She's Out of My League fame, and Noel Clarke, who is no stranger to SciFiNow having played Mickey Smith in Doctor Who. Clarke has been confirmed as playing a family man with a wife.
The cast of the 2009 outing will be returning, including Chris Pine (Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock) and Zoe Saldana (Uhura). Abrams admitted that the second film is a much easier task, "The job of the first movie was to establish it," he said. "I don't want to give anything away, but the burden we had in the first movie was existing at all. With this movie, instead of having to stand on the shoulders of the original series, we built a platform for us to tell this story."
The script will be penned by Abrams, Damon Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci, and the film shot in 3D, a medium that Abrams initially resisted. "I did not fight for the 3D," he said. "It was something the studio wanted to do, and I didn't want to do it. Then, when I saw the first movie converted in sections, I thought it looked really cool." The film will be shot on anamorphic film, then converted in post-production. "Those who want to see it in 3D, which looked pretty cool, can do it,"said Abrams, "and those that want to see it in 2D can do that too."
The as yet untitled Star Trek sequel is due in cinemas 17 May 2013.