Star Trek Into Darkness director JJ Abrams: Sherlock made casting Benedict Cumberbatch “a formality”

Abrams says he was “blown away” by the BBC1 series and that its star “elevated” the quality of the Star Trek sequel

If further proof was required that Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance in Sherlock has been instrumental in making him an international star, JJ Abrams has revealed that watching the BBC1 detective series prompted him to consider the actor for Star Trek: Into Darkness.


“One day, [Lost co-creator] Damon Lindelof texted me and said, ‘You should check out Sherlock’. And I watched Sherlock, and was completely blown away, there was this absolute undeniable feeling about it,” said Abrams, speaking at the IMAX preview screening of the first nine minutes of the Star Trek sequel.

He even suggested that Cumberbatch’s auditon for the role of the film’s villain had been something of “a formality”.

“Certainly it was important to hear the words come out of this actor’s mouth, and so we got Benedict the pages and he sent an iPhone-taped audition to us, but it was almost a little bit of a formality,” said Abrams.

The director added that casting Cumberbatch had helped up the performance of his colleagues on the blockbuster: “Being on the set with him… I think everyone was bringing their absolute A-game. I think, frankly, in a way, [his] presence sort of elevated everything.”


And Abrams believes that fans – already excited by glimpses of Cumberbatch in the first trailer for Into Darkness – have  a lot to look forward to: “Time and again, every scene, Benedict brought a surprising, unexpected, grounded, real and often terrifying aspect to the role. So we are incredibly grateful, all of us.”