For actor Benedict Cumberbatch, he didn’t have to look far to find inspiration for John Harrison.
Although he looked at past terrorists, there was plenty of inspiration from modern day events, said Cumberbatch.
“[Look at] real social history and present history, everything that’s going on: uprisings, people who are trying to spread democracy or fight their cause, not necessarily through political means,” said Cumberbatch. “[Harrison] is a terrorist, and sadly, that’s part of the fabric of our modern world. You don’t need to look far to research that one.”
Cumberbatch did look at “certain terrorist groups in the past,” however, to see how those groups worked and carried out their actions.
Cumberbatch may have used modern day events to figure out how to play a terrorist, but he was mindful of the need to have Harrison’s character ring true in Harrison’s own time frame, the Star Trek future. “It was important to me to ground him in a reality that’s based more on his story than, say, a parallel in the real world,” said Cumberbatch.
“What should certainly be chilling are the parallels to the modern world.”