Guess which one is Benedict Cumberbatch's natural hair color (Photo: WireImage)
With the enormous amount of buzz that has been bestowed upon the star villain in "Star Trek Into Darkness," along with a four more films coming out this year, Benedict Cumberbatch is truly the man of the moment.
The 36-year-old actor first grabbed the attention of "Star Trek" reboot director J.J. Abrams as the leading man on the hit BBC show "Sherlock." And while he seems relatively fresh on the scene in the U.S., Cumberbatch has been entertaining British audiences since he was a boy in London performing Shakespeare plays in school.
After his college years, Cumberbatch started out on the London stage. His onscreen career started picking up steam in 2002 with British television parts – and very soon after, in 2003, movie roles started coming his way. His list of credits include former Oscar contenders "Atonement," "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," "War Horse," and "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey." (Cumberbatch is the evil Necromancer!)
But even in those impressive titles, Cumberbatch was a supporting cast member. "Into Darkness" marks his time to shine in a leading role and launches the start to a huge year for the actor. He is reprising his Necromancer role in the next two "Hobbit" installments and is voicing the dragon Smaug – a part for which his physical moves were also motion-captured. He is playing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in the biographical film "The Fifth Estate" and is set to star opposite Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep in the dramatic comedy "August: Osage County."
Cumberbatch is in five films total this year and has still managed the time to star in "Sherlock" – a seemingly impossible feat for any actor.
Since we will be seeing a lot of this guy in the coming months, let's review these telling and covert Cumberfacts:
5. He was worried about his 'Star Trek Into Darkness' role.
Shortly after Cumberbatch accepted Abrams's offer to play the villain in the second "Star Trek" installment, he ran into "Star Trek: The Next Generation" show alums Patrick Stewart (Captain Jean-Luc Picard) and Brent Spiner (Data). As Spiner told the story on a Nerdist podcast last year, Cumberbatch approached the two at a London restaurant. "I've just agreed to do the new 'Star Trek' movie… Is it going to damage my career?" Spiner recalls Cumberbatch asking. Spiner said he replied jokingly, "Listen Benedict, you'll never work again after this."
4. He almost wasn't an actor.
"My parents worked incredibly hard to give me a very privileged education so I could do anything but be as stupid as them and become an actor," the "Into Darkness" actor said recently. Indeed, Cumberbatch intended to be come a lawyer at the urging of his thespian parents – who were both working actors. “Unfortunately I didn’t pay any attention, like a lot of children, to my parents's wise words," he said.
3. He moonlights as an audiobook reader.
The next time you buy a book on tape, listen much more attentively to the person reading the prose. Cumberbatch has lent his voice to many audiobooks including – fittingly -- a Shakespeare title and "Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries and Other Stories." He has also done voice over work for Jaguar, Sony, and Google+ commercials.
2. He is currently single.
Cumberbatch had been a steadfast boyfriend to his college classmate Olivia Poulet… up until recently. The two dated for twelve years. But recently on Britain's "The Graham Norton Show," the actor referred to his "ex-girlfriend." Ladies, the door is now wide open.
1. He is a red head.
He has been dying his hair black for a while for "Sherlock" and kept it dark for "Star Trek." Low and behold, Cumberbatch has much lighter auburn hair. You can see his decidedly lighter hair in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy."
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