As many of you might be aware, Star Trek Into Darkness, the sequel to J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reimagining of the Star Trek universe, is going to be released this week. I am personally looking forward to it, as I enjoyed the first outing and found the casting to be pretty great (Karl Urban was a standout for me, but I’ve loved him since his Lord of the Rings days).
But many summer moviegoers are unfamiliar with the title’s villain, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Although shows such as Doctor Who and Downton Abbey are gaining popularity stateside, the majority of Americans don’t watch British television. They’re asking themselves: just who is this Benedict Cumber-whatsit anyway?
Obviously, with the wealth of technology available to us nowadays, Benedict’s entire acting career can be accessed at the touch of a button and, in many cases, watched on online streaming sites. So perhaps I’m too far off the mark in assuming that summer blockbuster fans are largely ignorant of this up-and-coming talent. But, whatever the case may be, they will be aware of him all too soon.
This slightly troubles me.
Not that there’s anything wrong with expanding Benedict’s fanbase; don’t get me wrong. The same thing happened with Tom Hiddleston with the release of Thor and especially The Avengers. He had a small-ish fanbase, mostly British, before exploding onto the American film scene. Perhaps it’s selfish, but I’m almost dreading the rise of Benedict’s fame. Now, his fanbase is definitely large, but they’re mostly across the Atlantic, and I feel a certain sense of pride in knowing him and his work here in the States. It’s nice to walk amongst people talking about their favorite actors, mentioning DiCaprio, Pitt, and other American artists and bring up Benedict and hear them say “who?”
But as this time draws to a close, I can’t help but simply be happy for him. He has worked hard at the BBC and other British companies for many years, and his relatively small roles (to say nothing of Moffat’s ‘Sherlock’ series, which is brilliant) have proved him to be a top caliber of actor. Perhaps I won’t be counted among an ‘elite club’ anymore, but here’s to you, Mr. Cumberbatch. You deserve it!