For Benedict Cumberbatch, getting the role as the newest Star Trek baddie meant a bit of work during his Christmas vacation.
Last December, while on Christmas break in Gloucestershire, England, Cumberbatch got the word that J.J. Abrams wanted a videotaped audition from him for a role in Star Trek 2.
“I got a call before Christmas Eve saying that they’re very interested in you playing the not-so-good guy in the next Star Trek film,” said Cumberbatch. “Can you get yourself on tape?”
But the time of the year meant it was difficult for Cumberbatch to find someone to help him with filming the videotape audition. “So I rang some friends of mine – and when I say friends, I mean the top casting directors in England who were all on holiday because we observe this little Judeo-Christian cult holiday called Christmas,” said Cumberbatch. “Whereas, you know, some kids in this part of town [Los Angeles], with their Crackberrys, don’t. And the demands were coming in so fast, I was like, ‘this is terrifying.’ And by the 27th, people were knocking on the door, literally, and saying I’ve got to put myself on tape.”
Cumberbatch finally found some help and got the audition video completed, only to find out that some people in L.A. did indeed celebrate that little Judeo-Christian cult holiday. “I sent it to him,” said Cumberbatch, “and then I got told, ‘J.J.’s on holiday.’
“I was furious,” said Cumberbatch. “And then I heard on the day after New Year’s Day…then 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?'”