Mary L Mastro (hair department head): Benedict Cumberbatch was one of the last to be cast. He’s our bad guy, and we wanted him to have dark hair, the opposite of our blond Captain Kirk. The day he flew in, JJ called a meeting with the creators involved in what he was going to look like and he walks into the room with super-short blond hair. My mouth dropped open, like, “Oh, great.” We had two weeks before we started shooting, so we had to darken and lengthen his hair. I think they changed the schedule a little to give us more time. There was so much for him to work out for his character; having the look helped him to figure that out.
Martin De Boer (Cumberbatch’s stunt double): I trained one-on-one with him. We did basic martial arts training, showing him how to punch, how to move. He’s very receptive to learning. I’ve had actors who want to be an action star but don’t want to put in the work, and he was the opposite, he said, “I want to train as much as I can.” He was very committed. Besides working with us, he was working with his personal trainer five, six days a week; he really got in shape.
Michael Kaplan (costume designer): For the most part he wears civilian clothes, and I wanted him to be pretty dapper. He wears a number of very long, elegant coats. It’s nice, even in the distance, to be able to recognise a character right away. He’s pretty high fashion-looking.
Martin De Boer: I had to train him in the movements we’d come up with, to make sure we were compatible. Everyone moves differently, so we have to translate those moves, maybe change them so he can get comfortable. A lot of stunt performers make the mistake of trying to put the fight on to the actors, but you want them to make the fight their own. His character is very strong and powerful so he wanted to have more static and powerful movements. That strength changes the rules of the martial arts we use. You don’t have to do five punches, you just have to use a couple of moves and he takes out the guy already.