Benedict Cumberbatch showers ‘Trek’ director J.J. Abrams with praise

May 23, 2013 | 11:02 a.m.

Benedict Cumberbatch at the Bowery Hotel in New York on May 13, 2013. (Jennifer S. Altman / For The Times)

Benedict Cumberbatch at the Bowery Hotel in New York on May 13, 2013. (Jennifer S. Altman / For The Times)

Zachary Quinto, left, Benedict Cumberbatch and Chris Pine in a scene from "Star Trek Into Darkness." (Zade Rosenthal / Paramount Pictures)

Benedict Cumberbatch, left, and Karl Urban in a scene from "Star Trek Into Darkness." (Zade Rosenthal / Paramount Pictures)

Benedict Cumberbatch attends the London premiere of "Star Trek Into Darkness" on May 2, 2013. (Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images)

Chris Pine, left, Alice Eve, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana and Benedict Cumberbatch attend the London premiere of "Star Trek Into Darkness" on May 2, 2013. (Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images)

Benedict Cumberbatch at the Bowery Hotel in New York on May 13, 2013. (Jennifer S. Altman / For The Times)

Benedict Cumberbatch at the Bowery Hotel in New York on May 13, 2013. (Jennifer S. Altman / For The Times)

Director J.J. Abrams, in an appearance last night on the TBS talk show “Conan,” shared a very brief deleted scene from his sci-fi blockbuster “Star Trek Into Darkness,” showing actor Benedict Cumberbatch showering.

Abrams played the clip after the conversation with host Conan O’Brien turned to the charges of sexism that have erupted over a scene that did make the final cut of the film — in which Chris Pine’s Kirk ogles Alice Eve’s Dr. Carol Marcus in her underwear. (“Some people felt like it was exploiting her. While she is lovely, I can see their point,” Abrams conceded.)

Though the shower footage has the Internet all aflutter, it’s not necessarily the best example of the dynamic performance Cumberbatch delivers in the film as the villain (can we finally name him now?) whose identity was kept secret for so long.

In an interview with Hero Complex before the film opened in theaters, the English actor did mention the physical demands of the role — which “included huge amounts of food and a huge amount of working out,” he said, “I was eating something like 4,000 calories a day at one point.”

But he spoke far more extensively about the responsibility he felt to the franchise and to Abrams as a director.

“I was nervous,” he said. “We hit the ground running, we had to work very, very fast to develop things. I had one day on set after about two weeks prep — I can see where that is in the film and it’s always going to haunt me that one day, that one moment — and I then had to go to New Zealand for two weeks to play my part in ‘The Hobbit.’ Literally running off the plane, I was looking over my shoulder, just expecting a tap on the shoulder, and someone goes, ‘Benedict, really sorry, it’s not what we’re looking for, it hasn’t worked out. Here’s your return fare.’ Or just, ‘Goodbye,’ not even with the return fare.”

PHOTOS: Benedict Cumberbatch’s career in pictures

That tap on the shoulder, of course, never came — many reviews have namechecked his turn as the character first introduced as John Harrison as one of the best aspects of “Into Darkness.”

“Mr. Cumberbatch, pale and intense, has become the object of a global fan cult, and it’s easy to see why,” the New York Times’ A.O. Scott wrote in his review of the film. “He fuses Byronic charisma with an impatient, imperious intelligence that seems to raise the ambient I.Q. whenever he’s on screen.”

Cumberbatch, who’ll be seen on screen later this year in a variety of roles, including as the titular dragon in Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” credits Abrams with helping guide his performance.

“I felt very confident turning to J.J. for advice,” he said. “I really trusted him because of how calm he was. The amount of fun I had on set with J.J. was just extraordinary. He is a polymath and a genius, and I don’t use those words about people often. He can master anything he turns his hand to at sort of superhuman speed. He’s a very inspiring man to work for.”

– Gina McIntyre | @LATHeroComplex

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Comments


One Response to Benedict Cumberbatch showers ‘Trek’ director J.J. Abrams with praise

  1. Christina says:

    JJ, great pick getting Benedict Cumberbatch to play j. Harrison. Love it, he is so good. You want to hate him, but like him at the same time.

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