iPhone Video Helped Cumberbatch Score Role as <i>Star Trek 2</i> Villain

Benedict Cumberbatch rose to fame with the contemporary reimagining of Sherlock Holmes by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, but he's not stopping there. In addition to playing a pair of roles in Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Hobbit (The Necromancer and the voice of Smaug the dragon), the Sherlock star also appears in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek sequel. The actor talked to The New York Times about his career but remained tight-lipped about all three roles. In fact, he only refereed to his Trek character as “the not-so-good guy.”

However, Cumberbatch did explain how he got the role of the mysterious villain in the film: After getting a call from Abrams, the vacationing Cumberbatch filmed his audition in a friend's kitchen on a cell phone, noting, "I was pretty strung out, so that went into the performance." While the production might have been low-budget, it struck a chord with Abrams, who wrote an email to the actor saying the video was "one of the most compelling audition readings I’d ever seen."

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