Benedict Cumberbatch as John Harrison in Star Trek Into Darkness
Benedict Cumberbatch as John Harrison in Star Trek Into Darkness
The broad-shouldered Benedict Cumberbatch as John Harrison in Star Trek Into Darkness

Sherlock fans may have noticed that Benedict Cumberbatch’s powerful presence in the new Star Trek movie shows a previously un-hinted-at muscular physique, far from the snarky detective’s hawkish beanpole frame.

And they’d be right to have spotted this, because for a few weeks, during filming, Benedict had the unenviable task of trying to match the height and breadth of his co-stars Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto using just food and exercise as his tools, as he explained to the ITV breakfast show Daybreak.

“Physically and vocally I needed to have a lot of presence, and Zach and Chris are tall men. They’re taller than me and they’re broader than me, and I don’t mean that in a euphemistic sense for them being rotund, they are square-shouldered, big American men.

“So I thought ‘I’ve really got to catch up fast!’ I did a lot of training and I did a lot of eating. By the end I could – and I say this knowing full well if you asked me now I would faceplant – but I ended up being able to do handstand press-ups: Feet up against the wall, lowering my head to the floor and pushing up.

“It didn’t last long, but I could definitely do that for a week or two. I ate 4,000 calories a day for a good two or three weeks. It was a lot of food and I popped up about four suit sizes.”

Yep, that’s how the Cumberbatch measures his own bodily bulk: Suit sizes. Scales are just so… common.

Best of all, when presented with the ever-present bubbling rumor that he might be in line to play the Doctor, should Matt Smith decide to step down anytime soon, he displayed astonishingly deft diplomacy, saying: “Really? Oh no I am not aware of those rumors, other rumors but not that one.

“Let’s talk about Bond. No I’m joking!”

You can watch the whole interview over at the ITV Daybreak website.

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By Fraser McAlpine