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'Star Trek 2': J.J. Abrams discusses 3-D, Benedict Cumberbatch

The sequel's director says he's pleased with the look of the first movie in 3-D and adds that British actor Benedict Cumberbatch may not play the villain.

By Kofi OutlawScreen Rant / January 9, 2012

'Star Trek 2' actor Benedict Cumberbatch, seen here in "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," may not be playing the villain in the new Star Trek movie, according to director J.J. Abrams. Is he just trying to throw fans off the scent?

Jack English/HONS/Focus Features/AP

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3D has become something of a dirty word amongst moviegoers, and not without good reason: for every genuinely creative and/or enriching use of the format (Avatar, Hugo) there are a dozen other shallow, shoddy and gimmicky examples of 3D done wrong (Alice in Wonderland, Green Lantern, Clash of the Titans). When word got out that Star Trek 2 was going to be post-converted into 3D, many fans of the franchise feared that the sequel would fall into the latter camp of 3D movies.

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Well, Star Trek 2 director J.J. Abrams isn’t letting those fears go unaddressed; check out what the geek-chic icon had to say on the subject – as well as some of the recent casting news about the sequel.

Abrams addressed the Star Trek 2 3D issue at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, while talking up the new Fox show Alcatraz, which he serves as producer on. On the subject of how they will shoot Star Trek 2:

We’re shooting on film, and the reason for that is I wanted to shoot with anamorphic, and you can’t shoot 3D in anamorphic.

Addressing the ongoing (jokes? concerns?) circling the Internet, in regards to Abrams’ divisive signature “lens flare” filming style potentially being an even bigger nuisance in 3D:

I’ve had some people make fun of me about that. Yeah, we’ve done some tests. Not only lens flare tests, but we’ve done 3D tests. We actually converted a bunch of the original movie, which looked really good. That was the thing that made me feel like, maybe that would be okay. But, I didn’t want to shoot the movie digitally…It will be converted, for those who want to see it in 3D. But, I wanted to match the look of the first one and shoot it anamorphically.

On a more interesting note, check out what Abrams had to say about the project which was ultimately selected for 3D conversion:

I did not fight for the 3D. It was something that the studio wanted to do, and I didn’t want to do it. And then, when I saw the first movie converted in sections, I thought that it actually looked really cool. So, I was okay with their doing it, as long as I could shoot the movie the way I wanted to, in anamorphic film, and then let them convert it. So, those who want to see it in 3D, which looked pretty cool, can do it, and those that want to see it in 2D can do that too.

While I’m sure that Abrams was just being honest in his answer, nothing is going to fuel the fire of those online naysayers than hearing that he didn’t even want to have the movie in 3D. There already enough people who currently view 3D as nothing more than a Hollywood cash-grab – Abrams’ words to little to dissuade that assumption.

Regarding some of the casting news that has recently been announced for Star Trek 2 - specifically that of Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), who is rumored to be taking over the villain role (of Khan?) from Benecio Del Toro:

Who said he’s our villain?…Honestly, he’s just an incredible actor. If you’ve seen his work in Sherlock, he’s just got incredible skills. He’s an amazing stage actor. He did amazing work (on stage) in Frankenstein. He’s brilliant. You try to cast people who are great. We got lucky.

Don’t let Abrams throw, Trek fans: for now, signs point to Cumberbatch indeed playing the villain, and that villain being Khan. We can’t prove it beyond a doubt, but the clues are definitely there to suggest that the actor will be playing a brainer version of Khan, with supporting actors like Joe Gatt providing the muscle. Still, we’ll have to wait for an official confirmation to know for sure.

What do you think about Star Trek 2 being pushed into 3D by Paramount? How about the casting of the film so far?

Star Trek 2 will be in theaters on May 17, 2013.

Kofi Outlaw blogs at Screen Rant.

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