‘Star Trek’ Quiz Stumps Benedict Cumberbatch … Maybe

Is the 'Star Trek 2' villain messing with us? Cumberbatch plays dumb when asked some pretty simple 'Trek' trivia.
By Kara Warner, with reporting by Josh Horowitz

Benedict Cumberbatch

Of all the plot points to ponder about the upcoming "Star Trek" sequel, the element on many people's minds pertains to new addition Benedict Cumberbatch and which villain he's playing.

That subject is a closely guarded secret, of course, so in an effort to approach the "Trek 2" topic with the busy and talented British actor when he stopped by our MTV Newsroom recently, we gave him a little "Star Trek" quiz to see how much insider info he's picked up during shooting so far. As it turns out, he's got some homework to do — that, or he's really good at messing with us.

In all honesty, our "Trek" questions were not too difficult. For example, when we asked if he knew what a Klingon was, Cumberbatch claimed he did not. "What do they look like?" he asked, seeming genuinely interested to hear the answer.

When we showed him the famous split-fingered Vulcan salute made famous by Spock, he offered a creative interpretation of what the salute actually means. "Uh, I've sprained my fingers and both of them have splints," he said. "Or they're webbed and I don't want you to see it," which he followed by quoting "Mork & Mindy," the popular '80s sitcom that made a star of Robin Williams. "Nanu, nanu," he said with a grin.

"You're in the 'Mork & Mindy' movie?" we asked. "Congratulations!"

"Yeah. I'm playing Mork and Mindy," Cumberbatch joked.

Unsurprisingly, he also claimed to not know anything about the SS Botany Bay, which was the famous Trek villain Khan's ship. The cagey actor explained that he prefers to approach all his roles with as little insider information as possible.

"I think it's best to, like a lot of acting you do, you have to start from a knowledge base of zero in order to have every experience that you're portraying again and again and again feel like fresh," he said. "So I purposefully made no attempt to learn anything about anything."

Somehow we think the charming, clever man was having a bit of fun with us and is just trying to hide his inner "Trek" nerd for a while longer. He has told us previously that he's had a great time on set thus far.

"It's a real privilege to be on that set. There's a patter and a kind of knowledge of who they're playing and the other main characters, which I'm learning a lot from. It's just good fun. It's great to work with Chris [Pine]. He's very professional. So is Zach [Quinto], who I've been working a lot with; I adore him, he's a brilliant, brilliant guy.

Check out everything we've got on "Star Trek 2."

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