How J.J. Abrams' offer to be in Star Trek 2 baffled Benedict Cumberbatch

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Dec 17, 2012

These days Benedict Cumberbatch is celebrating landing the role of the villain in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek sequel, but getting there wasn't so easy. His audition was more than a little unusual, and when Abrams finally offered him the part, Cumberbatch wasn't even sure what he was saying.

Cumberbatch first learned that Abrams was interested in casting him last Christmas. He won't spill details of what the role is (other than saying he's a "not-so-good guy"), but he does describe the audition process as somewhat ... well, let's just say trying.

See, Abrams was in America and Cumberbatch was in the U.K., so to save time and plane tickets Cumberbatch was asked to tape himself and send the footage to the director as soon as possible. The trouble was, all the casting-director friends who could have helped him put a quality tape together were off on holiday. And so, after exhausting all other resources, Cumberbatch found himself in a friend's kitchen, late at night, recording his audition on an iPhone.

"And so I ended up squatting in their kitchen, at about 11 o'clock at night. I was pretty strung out, so that went into the performance," Cumberbatch said. "So we did it, and then it took a day and a half to compress it. I sent it to him, and then I got told, 'J.J.'s on holiday.' I was furious."

Reaction from Abrams finally came after the New Year, but even when he finally got word from the director, Cumberbatch didn't know what to make of the message.

"He just sent me an e-mail, going, 'You want to come and play?' I said, What does this mean? Are you in town, you want to go for a drink? I'm English, you've got to be really straight with me on this. Have I got the part?"

Cumberbatch did indeed have the part. Apparently J.J. Abrams just has a really nonchalant way of offering major roles in guaranteed blockbusters to people.

(via New York Times)