Few working actors today have extracted such a variety of rich performances in a short period of time as Benedict Cumberbatch. In 2013 alone, he played Julian Assange to critical acclaim, filmed the third season of Sherlock for the BBC and took on one of the most famous villains in science-fiction cinema: Khan. However, the articulate Star Trek Into Darkness actor recently revealed a displeasure for director J.J. Abrams, particularly in the filmmaker’s decision to keep the identity of his then-cryptic role in the Star Trek sequel a secret.
Abrams commented earlier in the week that it may have been a mistake not to reveal that Khan was in the film, as the director and other cast and crew members denied routinely than the famous villain was a character in Star Trek Into Darkness. Cumberbatch portrayed Khan in the guise of a ruthless character named John Harrison before revealing his identity about an hour into the sci-fi drama.
“What a dickhead,” Cumberbatch laughed, referring to Abrams in an interview with IGN. “I mean, the amount of times we had to lie for him. The amount of secrets, the amount of times I had to not talk about it being my character. God damn him.”
Despite the initial burst of pointed laughter, Cumberbatch also revealed that although keeping his role under wraps was frustrating, the secrecy made for a more exciting moviegoing experience.
“The intention was to have a reveal in the audience that was going to be thrilling, where people go, ‘Oh, really?’ and that worked to an extent,” Cumberbatch said. “People wanted to join in that thrill of seeing it, and experiencing it in the theater rather than having it spoiled for them in reviews, or got internet gossip or traders that gave everything away.”
Although his flippant ‘dickhead’ remark was likely not too nice, especially toward a film and television titan like Abrams, at least Cumberbatch has expressed understanding as to why the director likes secrecy in a spoiler-full media and web landscape. However, for someone obsessed with keeping things mum, Abrams sure likes to choose projects (like Star Wars: Episode VII) that people cannot stop speculating about. In another ironic twist, Cumberbatch would then portray Julian Assange, a man who rejoiced in uncovering state secrets, in The Fifth Estate.