JJ Abrams hails ‘genius’ Benedict Cumberbatch

British actor will play the villain in director's 'Star Trek 2'

JJ Abrams has spoken out about casting Benedict Cumberbatch in Star Trek 2, describing him as a “genius”.

Last week it emerged that the Sherlock star had won his most high-profile movie role yet, as the villain in the sci-fi sequel.

And now director has confirmed the news, joking to Collider:

We just were looking for someone with the most awesome name in history. That was the casting call. We asked for someone with the most awesome name in history, ever, and Benedict Cumberbatch showed up, so we were like, ‘You’re cast!’

More seriously, Abrams went on to heap praise on the British actor’s abilities: “He’s a genius. Honestly, he’s just an incredible actor. If you’ve seen his work in Sherlock, he’s just got incredible skills. I just loved his work and thought that he was perfect for what we needed. We were just very lucky.”

Confirming that the film will begin shooting on Thursday (January 12) and be converted into 3D after filming, Abrams said: “It will be converted, for those who want to see it in 3D. But, I wanted to match the look of the first one and shoot it anamorphically.”

Cumberbatch can currently be seen in the second series of BBC One’s Sherlock, which concludes this Sunday, as well as starring in Steven Spielberg‘s War Horse.