EXCLUSIVE: Here’s another update on writer/director J.J. Abrams’ much anticipated Star Trek sequel — which is really No. 12 in the realm of Starfleet movies – coming out on May 17, 2013 from Paramount. I’ve learned that hot British film actor Benedict Cumberbatch has been cast in a lead role in the film. No word yet on whether he’ll be a hero or villain. But Cumberbatch landed some sought-after roles recently in War Horse (as ‘Major Stewart’) and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (‘Peter Guillam’). He will also portray ‘Smaug the Dragon’ through motion capture and voice the ‘Necromancer’ in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There And Back Again. The 35-year-old London-born thesp is a veteran of both theatre and TV, most notably as ‘Sherlock Holmes’ in the 2010 modern BBC adaptation series Sherlock).
He also starred as ‘Stephen Hawking’ in 2004′s Hawking and received a nomination for the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor and won the Golden Nymph for Television Films – Best Performance by an Actor. The British GQ magazine named him “Actor of the Year 2011″. Cumberbatch is repped by UTA and UK-based Conway van Gelder Grant LTD.
The Star Trek sequel is being co-written by Abrams with Lost’s Damon Lindelof, plus Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci. JJ is going to be making the movie in 3D. The first of Abram’s rebooted franchise opened May 8, 2009 for a $79M weekend and ultimate did $258M in North America and $130M international at the box office. The pic is being produced by all those writers and Bryan Burk, who is JJ’s Bad Robot production partner. It is anticipated that David Ellison’s Skydance will be co-financing the film with Paramount. All key cast members will be returning, like Chris Pine and Zach Quinto and Zoe Saldana.