J. J. Abrams’ Star Trek sequel has just signed on two British actors that have substantial fan audiences already here in the States – Doctor Who‘s Noel Clarke and Sherlock‘s Benedict Cumberbatch. Both of their characters are unnamed at this time, but Clarke’s is being described by Variety as “a family man with a wife and young daughter,” while the Hollywood Reporter is guessing that Cumberbatch “will play the movie’s villain.”
Clarke first came to the attention of many of us for his work as Mickey, the long-suffering boyfriend of Doctor Who companion Rose Tyler when the BBC relaunched the classic science-fiction series in 2005. Although the character was fairly flat in his first couple of appearances, Clarke helped breath life into it as the series progressed. Both concurrently and following his Doctor Who stint, Clarke has expanded his career to writing and directing as well scripting and starring in the coming-of-age drama Kidulthood and then also directing its sequel Adulthood as well as other projects.
Although he has appeared in such films as Atonement (2007) and The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), Cumberbatch’s profile seems to have exploded with his starring role in the BBC’s modernization of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic consulting detective, Sherlock. Currently, the actor has two movies in release – Steven Spielberg’s War Horse and the new adaption of John LaCarre’s classic spy novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. He’s also signed on to play the voices of the dragon Smaug and the Necromancer in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit.
As a fan of both actors, I think they make great additions to the cast. And with Robocop and Buckaroo Banzai star Peter Weller also in the cast, Abrams has really stacked the film with some genre favorites.
Production is expected to get started on the as-yet-unnamed Star Trek sequel relatively soon, with a release date set for May 17, 2013.