Cumberbatch stars as a dragon

For Benedict Cumberbatch, working on The Hobbit was obviously a welcome contrast to the complex business of filming the Sherlock series. The actor has been talking about his part in the latest Peter Jackson Tolkien adaptation.

The role is certainly something of a stretch for Cumberbatch. He plays Smaug, the dragon whose horde contained the ring that the hobbit of the title, Bilbo Baggins, stole, indirectly leading to not only The Hobbit trilogy, but also Tolkien and Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings epic.

Cumberbatch told Total Film about the experience of working with the special effects technology. "It's very freeing, once you put the suit on and the sensors," he said. "You just have to lose your sh*t on a carpeted floor, in a place that looks a little bit like a mundane government building. It was just me as well, with four static cameras and all the sensors. Then the boys work their magic."

Given that Jackson likes to stretch his story over more than one film, Cumberbatch won’t have much of a part in the first film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Jouney, scheduled to open on December 14. "I think my eye will open at the end of the first film, and then you'll get the rest of me in the second," he said.

Cumberbatch joins an impressive cast. His Sherlock co-star Martin Freeman plays Bilbo, while the film trilogy also features Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis, Cate Blanchett and Orlando Bloom, reprising their roles from the Lord Of The Rings films.

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