Benedict Cumberbatch on villainous character in ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’: ‘He’s a shadow self of Captain Kirk’

'I don’t really believe in heroes and villains,' says 'Sherlock' actor

Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about his character in Star Trek Into Darkness by claiming he is a “shadow self” of the film’s main protagonist, Captain Kirk.

The J J Abrams-directed sci-fi flick opened in UK cinemas yesterday (May 9) and, in an interview with Total Film, Sherlock actor Cumberbatch insisted that his character was more complex than merely being a villain.

“I think the most interesting characters across the board, whether they’re heroes or villains… basically I don’t really believe in good and evil, and I don’t really believe in heroes and villains,” he said. “That’s kind of the trick. And not just as an actor having empathy for your character, and the moment of portraying someone and understanding why they do what they do however despicable that it is, and trust me – I’ve sat in the audience going, ‘Ooh, God!’, when I destroy, I kill, I maim – and it’s pretty horrific.”

He went on to claim that the character was motivated by “quite profoundly persuasive” reasons for his actions and then added: “I think the fact that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, and the fact that he is a shadow self of Kirk – same coin, different sides – is what makes him interesting to play, for me.”

Cumberbatch was also asked if he’d be begging J J Abrams for a role in Star Wars, too, leading him to jokingly respond: “I”ve already asked him if I can be a lightsaber and we’re in talks – about whirring sounds and the rates for the lights and everything.”

Star Trek Into Darkness also stars Zachary Quinto as Spock, Simon Pegg as Scotty and Zoe Saldana as Nyota. A new clip from the film was previewed online earlier this month, with the 80-second teaser featuring a tense exchange between Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk and Cumberbatch – scroll down to the bottom of the page and click to watch.