PASADENA – When news broke on Wednesday (January 4) afternoon that “Sherlock” star Benedict Cumberbatch had landed a key, but entirely undisclosed, role in J.J. Abrams’ upcoming “Star Trek” dozens of TV critics had the same thought: Sweet! We’ll get no scoops whatsoever when Benedict Cumberbatch appears at the Television Critics Association press tour via satellite to promote the second season of his Arthur Conan Doyle series.
And we were correct!
Cumberbatch only received a question-and-a-half about his “Star Trek” casting, but his answers didn’t even rise to the level of cryptic or evasive.
So what did the “War Horse” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” scene stealer actually have to say about his highest profile film to date?
“There’s a lawyer standing here saying that I can’t say anything,” Cumberbatch replied to the clearly expected query. “I’m hugely, hugely excited and I’m very, very flattered.”
He continued, helpfully, “I’m not here to talk about that. I will, in the future, I’m sure. I’m just getting my head around the fact that it’s happened. If you’ll forgive me, I’ll pass on that. But my headline is that I’m over the moon.”
Wait. So the headline is that he’s over the moon? Is that a reference to his “Star Trek” character — assumed, without empirical evidence, to be a villain — having some sort of connection with the moon? Which character would that be, “Trek” fans?
Cumberbatch, who was in London for the “War Horse” premiere, is experiencing a sudden crest of fame and the 35-year-old actor sounds grateful.
“I’ve been working for nearly 10 years.I got started quite late in my 20s, compared to an awful lot of people who are further ahead of me, younger,” he said. “Not that it”s a natural progression. I feel very, very fortunate and very blessed. It has sort of happened gradually. But, the last bit of it — the trip into being far more on the radar — has been very sudden and there are interesting things that go with that, aren”t there?”
Cumberbatch continued, “Existing in a public space with any kind of private dimension is a fun game to play. That involves hats and glasses, and just trying to keep a low profile, by whatever means, with an Inspector Clouseau disguise or not. I”m having a great time, and it”s just offering me the opportunity to do fantastic work and be in the company of great people and do incredible scripts. I”m really happy.”
Also upcoming on Cumberbatch’s cinematic platter is a vocal turn in Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit,” but he wasn’t asked about that Smaug-y role, so he said less-than-nothing about it.
The imaginary lawyer over Cumberbatch’s shoulder made a second appearance at the end of the “Sherlock” press conference to prevent the actor from confirming or denying his commitment to a third season.
“You might see that it”s quite hard for me to make it back, after the end of the last episode,” Cumberbatch teased.
But he concluded, “I’d like to.”
“Sherlock,” which just premiered Across the Pond, returns to PBS on Sunday, May 6.