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THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH (Smaug) is currently starring in Steve McQueen's widely acclaimed true-life drama "12 Years a Slave" and next appears in the film adaptation of the hit play "August: Osage County," as part of an all-star ensemble cast under the direction of John Wells. Earlier in 2013, he starred as Khan in J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek Into Darkness" and as Julian Assange in Bill Condon's "The Fifth Estate." His recent film credits also include Steven Spielberg's "War Horse," and Tomas Alfredson's "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," for which he received a British Independent Film Award nomination.

Television audiences know Cumberbatch for his performance in the title role of the BBC's contemporized "Sherlock Holmes," for which he has garnered Emmy, Golden Globe and two BAFTA TV Award nominations. He earned his second Best Actor Emmy nomination this year for his performance in the HBO miniseries "Parade's End."

Cumberbatch studied drama at the University of Manchester before training at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Early in his career, he was seen in a number of theatre and television roles; however, it was his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in the 2004 BBC biopic "Hawking" that brought him international attention and his first BAFTA TV Award nomination. He later gained another BAFTA TV Award nomination for his work in the BBC's "Small Island."

Among his additional television credits are "Silent Witness," "MI-5," "Dunkirk," "To the Ends of the Earth" and "The Last Enemy." His other big-screen credits include "Starter for 10," "Amazing Grace," "Third Star," "Wreckers," "Stuart: A Life Backwards," "The Other Boleyn Girl" and "Atonement."

On the stage, Cumberbatch starred in Danny Boyle's celebrated 2011 production of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" at the National Theatre, alternating (with Jonny Lee Miller) in the roles of The Creature and Dr. Frankenstein. Together with Miller, he shared in an Olivier Award, an Evening Standard Theatre Award and a Critics' Circle Theatre Award for the dual roles. He previously received an Olivier Award nomination for his performance in Richard Eyre's 2005 West End production of "Hedda Gabbler." His extensive stage work also includes two seasons with the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park with The New Shakespeare Company; Trevor Nunn's production of "Lady from the Sea"; Tennessee Williams' "Period of Adjustment"; Ionesco's "Rhinoceros"; "The Arsonists"; "The City" at the Royal Court Theatre; and Thea Sharrock's award-winning 2010 revival of "After the Dance" at the National Theatre.

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