Cumberbatch auditions by iPhone

Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch took an unusual approach to auditioning for the new Star Trek movie – he filmed himself on his iPhone. He must have done something right though, because he landed the part of the villain. Brits always seem to be the favoured nationality for baddies in US productions.

The New York Times reported that Cumberbatch shot the audition late at night in his kitchen, when he was feeling exhausted. "I was pretty strung out," the actor said. "So that went into the performance"

Director JJ Abrams was impressed, calling Cumberbatch’s performance "one of the most compelling audition readings I'd ever seen". He may also have appreciated that Cumberbatch is something of an expert at reboots of familiar and much-loved stories, having given Sherlock Holmes a new lease of life.

Abrams's 2009 Star Trek was well-received. It told the story of the young Captain Kirk and Spock’s first Star Fleet mission as cadets. It was successful enough to be regarded as the relaunch of a whole new Star Trek franchise, given the blessing of the older generation by a Leonard Nimoy cameo.

Cumberbatch will join fellow Brit Simon Pegg in the cast. Pegg plays the young Scottie. Cumberbatch was keeping quiet about the role he will play. "You could stick a knife in my thigh, and I wouldn't tell you," he said. "Pull the hair on my head the wrong way though, and I would be on my knees begging for mercy," he added. "I have very sensitive follicles."

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