In a video interview with Japanese site GyaO! which is not available for streaming outside of Japan, Benedict Cumberbatch told the interviewer how JJ Abrams gave him a description of the mysterious part. The interview was originally found by Trek Movie’s Tokyo correspondent and translated. The following may contain spoilers!
“JJ described the role in movie terms as a mixture of Hannibal Lector, Jack in the Shining and The Joker in Batman. There are sorts of levels to pitch in amongst quite a high bar as well to succeed in comparison to. It was a framework to understand this character before I saw the whole script.”
“He’s someone who has enormous physical strength. He’s someone who is incredibly dangerous, both as a physical entity and through the use of various technologies and weapons and who performs acts of what I would describe as terrorism. He’s also a psychological master. He manipulates the minds of those around him to do his bidding in a very, very subtle way.”
Benedict Cumberbatch also said his character John Harrison is not two-dimensional villain and you might even feel for him.
“I would say he is three dimensional in a way that he has a purpose, unlike the villains can sometimes go in franchises where it is just the obstacle – just this immovable thing this entity in the way or destroying what the good guys do. This person has real purpose behind his actions – his intention. It doesn’t mean I condone them, but I can empathize with the reasons. So there is a degree of leaning in and understanding and caring about him as well as being terrified about what he is doing.”
JJ Abrams also did a interview with GyaO! where he talked more about Benedict’s character.
“His name is John Harrison and he is sort of an average – that is what makes him so scary – he is just an average guy who works in an organization called Starfleet, and he turns against the group because he has got this back-story and this kind of amazing secret agenda. After two very violent attacks, one in London and one in the US, our characters have to go after this guy and apprehend him. And it is a far more complicated and difficult thing then they ever anticipated. “Into Darkness” is very much about how intense it gets and really what they are up against. “
Original source TrekMovie.com