Benedict Cumberbatch: my biggest Star Trek challenge was John Harrison’s hair

"Straight or curly, long with bangs or a ponytail... or maybe no hair"

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Benedict Cumberbatch, star of BBC1’s detective drama Sherlock, is coming soon to a cinema near you as the new Star Trek villian John Harrison.

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But while you might think swapping Arthur Conan Doyle’s crime-solving intellectual for a criminal mastermind would be a tough transition, it seems Cumberbatch has taken it all in his stride, saying his biggest concern was how John Harrison should have his hair…

“Which way to do my hair was the hardest thing really,” Cumberbatch joked at a press conference for Star Trek Into Darkness. “Straight or curly, long with bangs or a ponytail… or maybe no hair.” (What are you calling them bangs for, Benedict? It’s a fringe over here!)

Cumberbatch’s character in the new Star Trek film is something of an enigma. He plays a villain who carries out vicious attacks but Harrison also has a side to him which the audience might find themselves empathising with.

“One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter,” said the 36-year-old actor. “I think there’s an ability to empathise with his cause, but maybe not his means to getting his ends.”

The British star went on to say: “There’s a lot of motivation and reasoning behind what he does. He has a moral core, he just has a method which is pretty brutal and abhorent.”

“It was a beautiful thing to be asked to play – this sliding scale of someone who could be trustworthy and understandable and also somebody who could be out and out on a mission of revenge. That was one of the brilliant balances that were achieved in the script, that you… should be able to move between abhoring him and feeling something for him.”

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Star Trek Into Darkness is in UK cinemas 9 May