With initial production beginning on the highly anticipated third season of the BBC series “Sherlock” this week, and no firm release date yet in sight, now seems an appropriate time to look into what the current year holds for the series’ titular star.
Fans of “Sherlock” already know that star is Benedict Cumberbatch, and American audiences got a taste of the London native in 2011 when he appeared in Steven Spielberg’s “War Horse” and Tomas Alfredson’s “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”. In 2013, however, Cumberbatch is poised to vault into the forefront of the American entertainment sphere with prominent roles in four tentpole films as well as an adaption of a Tony/Pulitzer Award winning play.
‘STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS ‘
First up, Cumberbatch will be playing the villain in J.J. Abram’s “Star Trek Into Darkness”, the follow up to Abram’s 2009 smash hit. He has long been rumored to be playing Khan in the new film, a tyrant from “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan“, but recently refuted that notion. Instead, Cumberbatch declared he would be playing a different sort of villain named John Harrison. While to date the actor has been vague in describing his character, recently in an interview with IGN he gave a small peek into the role when he floated the idea that Harrison will not be your typical “cookie cutter” villain. Furthermore, he went on to say that the character’s motives are deeply personal and not always clear to the audience. Cumberbatch states that,
“He has extraordinary physical powers, but also mental powers. He can sow an idea, which is as powerful as gunshots or close-hand combat, which he’s masterful in. He tears into the fabric of both the world and the Enterprise family, and he leaves behind him a trail of devastation.”
J. J. Abram’s newest entry into the “Star Trek” series opens May 17, 2013.
‘TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE’
In the second prominent film of 2013 for Cumberbatch, “Twelve Years A Slave“, the British actor will be co-starring with Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, and Paul Giamatti in a film adaption of the book of the same name. The plot follows a man who is born free in New York, but is kidnapped, sold into slavery, and kept in bondage for 12 years in Louisiana before eventually being rescued. It is an adaption from the memoirs of Solomon Northup, which were released soon after Uncle Tom’s Cabin and went on to be a bestseller in 1853 when it was published. Cumberbatch will be playing a Baptist preacher in the film, which has yet to release a trailer, or schedule a release date.
In an interesting side note, Quvenzahné Wallis is also slated for a role in this film. Those unaware of the 9 year-old bombshell, who became the youngest actress ever nominated for an Academy Award at last month’s ceremonies, check out “Beasts of the Southern Wild”.
‘THE FIFTH ESTATE’
In “The Fifth Estate”, Benedict Cumberbatch plays Julian Assange, the controversial founder of Wikileaks. The film, helmed by Bill Condon, focuses on the founding of Wikileaks and the subsequent release of controversial data that Assange was able to acquire. These leaks famously lead to changes in the way information is presented to the news media, and more generally, the flow of information in the modern world. “The Fifth Estate” began filming in January, has just acquired its official title, and has now been given a release date of November 15, 2013. A star-studded cast will support Cumberbatch, including Daniel Bruhl, Laura Linney, and star from “The Hurt Locker“ Anthony Mackie. The late November release ensures that the film will be poised for an awards season run, just in time for serious Oscar contention.
‘AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY ‘
“August: Osage County” is a film adaption of the Tony and Pulitzer winning play of the same name. The film won’t release until this fall, but with mega-stars like Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, and Ewan McGregor attached, as well as George Clooney set to produce, it should have a decent run at the box office. If nothing else, with so many big names attached, the public The theatrical version takes place in Oklahoma over the course of several weeks, as various lazy and eccentric ‘hangers-on’ surround a dying woman. Cumberbatch will act as one of these characters surrounding Meryl Streep. As the release is so far off, little has been released and we have yet to see a trailer, but filming wrapped at the beginning of the year and those sorts of media releases should be coming quickly.
‘THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG ‘
Cumberbatch actually has dual roles in Peter Jackson’s new “Hobbit” films, playing both the Necromancer and the dragon Smaug. As the first film centered on the early points of the book, little was seen of either of Cumberbatch’s characters, but rest assured they should take center stage as the action picks up in the second film (to be released in December). It certainly seems to be a year of villains for Cumberbatch, and Smaug is no exception, but Cumberbatch’s turn as the wicked dragon should be a treat as he and Bilbo & Co. battle to reclaim the Dwarven treasure.
With such a crowded schedule, its no wonder that we are going to have to wait until 2014 to see a new series of Sherlock. Cumberbatch’s 2013 is very full, and includes a potential star-making role in “Star Trek”, supporting roles among star-studded casts in “Twelve Years a Slave” and “August: Osage County”, a potentially Oscar-worthy turn in “The Fifth Estate”, and last but not least, he gets to play a dragon in Middle Earth. With that much going on, it should be pretty clear why Benedict Cumberbatch is poised to rule 2013.
Then, there’s also that rumor going around about him taking on the role of the next James Bond villain…