When Benedict Cumberbatch was asked to screen test the new villain in "Star Trek 2," he used the kind of technology that would make Capt. Kirk proud.
And we're talking about the one that always had Siri by his side.
Cumberbatch, who fans know best from Steven Moffat's "Sherlock" series, told The New York Times that he filmed his test scenes using nothing more than the iPhone he carries around with him.
That's because "Star Trek 2" director J.J. Abrams asked to see Cumberbatch at work over Christmas, when film crews were off ... celebrating Christmas.
"We observe this little Judeo-Christian cult holiday called Christmas," Cumberbatch told the Times, using the dry humor his Sherlock Holmes character is known for. "Whereas, you know, some kids in this part of town [Los Angeles] with their Crackberrys, don't."
Cumberbatch himself was at a friend's house celebrating the holiday, and decided to act out the scenes sent to him by Abrams in his friend's kitchen. He had imbibed a little holiday cheer ahead of that, helping him create a performance where he was a little "strung out."
He got the reading back to Abrams in record time, only to find out that Abrams himself was also on vacation.
However, a few days later, Cumberbatch received an email from Abrams that described the iPhone-filmed submission "one of the most compelling audition readings I'd ever seen."
Cumberbatch, whose "Sherlock" series returns to the United States in May on PBS, says that series really pushed him into the spotlight, despite some critically acclaimed work in other productions, including most recently "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy."
"I knew it would accelerate wherever I was at," Cumberbatch said. "And I thought, 'I'm ready for this.'"
The actor has now spent weeks in Los Angeles filming the movie, which is due out next year, but told Zap2it that his biggest change was dying his hair.
"The movie goes well," he said. "It's very, very long hours, but it's an incredible job. It's phenomenal. J.J. brings it. It's a very exciting set to be on."
Cumberbatch described Abrams as someone who is not only imaginative, but detail-oriented as well. It allows him to capture stories in a "fresh and imaginative way."
"Just the range of stuff I get to do in one day, it's great," Cumberbatch said. "Also, what he's asking me, it's just wonderful. I can't say much nicer than that. I'm basically raving about it, and I don't have a gun pointed to my head."
"Sherlock" is also boosting the profile of Cumberbatch's co-star, "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" star Martin Freeman. He's set to debut as Bilbo Baggins next year as the Lord of the Rings series continues with part one of Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit."
"Star Trek 2" debuts May 17, 2013.
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