(written from a Production point of view)
Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch (born 19 July 1976; age 39) is an English actor who played Khan Noonien Singh (a.k.a. "John Harrison") in Star Trek Into Darkness. In February 2012, several images and video from the filming of the climactic fight scene between Cumberbatch's Khan and Zachary Quinto's Spock appeared on the web. 
Cumberbatch is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes on the BBC drama program Sherlock, which premiered in 2010 and has as of 2014 ten episodes. Cumberbatch received a Britannia Award at the 2013 BAFTA/LA Britannia Awards as British Artist of the Year, honoring his work on Star Trek Into Darkness, 12 Years a Slave, The Fifth Estate, August: Osage County, and The Hobbitt: The Desolation of Smaug.
Early life and career
Born in London, England, Cumberbatch is the son of actors Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham. Following education at Brambletye School in West Sussex, he received an arts scholarship to Harrow School, where he began performing in school plays. He made his acting debut at age 13, playing Titania, Queen of the Fairies, in a Harrow production of William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream". He later studied drama at the University of Manchester and continued training as an actor at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Cumberbarch began his professional acting career on the stage in 2001 and made the transition to television and film a year later. He was lauded for his performance as Stephen Hawking in the 2004 BBC drama Hawking, which featured his future Star Trek Into Darkness co-star, Alice Eve. He and Eve again appeared together in the 2006 feature film Starter for 10. Cumberbatch also gave a critically-acclaimed performance as William Pitt in the 2006 film Amazing Grace.
Film career (2007–present)
Cumberbatch has worked with two other actors who played villains in Star Trek films. He starred opposite Tom Hardy in the 2007 television movie Stuart: A Life Backwards; both actors later appeared in the 2011 adaptation Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Cumberbatch also appeared with Eric Bana in the 2008 film The Other Boleyn Girl.
Cumberbatch's other film credits include the 2007 adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel Atonement and Steven Spielberg's 2011 drama War Horse. He also provided the voices and performance-captures of Smaug the dragon and the Necromancer in the three-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, opposite his Sherlock co-star Martin Freeman and fellow Star Trek Into Darkness actor Manu Bennett. The first film in the trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, was released in 2012.
Five months after his appearance in Star Trek Into Darkness, Cumberbatch appeared on the cover of Time magazine. The shoot came about after photographer Paola Kudacki took her nephews to see the film, and one of them commented "He has such an interesting face." 
In addition to Star Trek Into Darkness, Cumberbatch appeared in several other high-profile films released in 2013. He is part of the ensemble cast of the film adaptation of Tracy Letts' play August: Osage County and has a principal role in 12 Years a Slave (based on Solomon Northup's memoir), which co-stars Alfre Woodard. Cumberbatch also starred as controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in the dramatic thriller The Fifth Estate, in which former DS9 star Alexander Siddig has a supporting role.
Cumberbatch provided the voices of actor Alan Rickman and the Prime Minister of England in the Feb. 10, 2013 episode of The Simpsons titled "Love Is a Many Splintered Thing." He also produced and starred in a short film called Little Favour.
In addition to the upcoming Hobbit sequels The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (set up for a 2013 release) and The Hobbit: There and Back Again (arriving in 2014), Cumberbatch will play the lead role in the thriller The Imitation Game (2014), lend his voice to the animated projects The Penguins of Madagascar (2015) and Magik (2015), and play British explorer Percy Fawcett in the biopic The Lost City of Z which is currently in pre-production.