Benedict Cumberbatch is getting used to existing in the bizarre, shape-shifting world of Stephen Strange – aka Marvel superhero Doctor Strange.
Yet even this pales in comparison to his real-life adventure in the company of another genius called Stephen — Professor Stephen Hawking.
“It is the most extraordinary experience,” Cumberbatch — who played the renowned physicist in the 2004 TV movie Hawking — tells host Graham Norton in an upcoming episode of BBC’s The Graham Norton Show.
“We were at the Royal Society for a discussion on the future of science and it was a long night, so we decided to go for a drink,” he recalls. “We got knee-deep in margaritas and it was at that drunken moment I thought I would tell him I was playing Khan in Star Trek.”
That Hollywood casting scoop — which had been furiously kept under wraps — was a prized one.
“Stephen was the only person I told,” Cumberbatch says. “He liked the fact I had told him. It made him smile.”
“Everyone is absolutely thrilled,” his rep told PEOPLE.
Yet this doesn’t mean that everything in Cumberbatch’s life is anxiety-free. Looking ahead, the Sherlock star is already dreading his first appearance at Comic Con in his new guise of Doctor Strange.
“When I get properly lazy, I’ll just go there and sign pictures of my face!” jokes Cumberbatch, who is due to host the final episode of Saturday Night Live before the presidential election.
“It’s an amazing thing. I’ve been before and it is terrifying,” he says. “They announce you like God is about to arrive, and you come through all the smoke and lights and booming soundtrack and just say, ‘Hello.’ You feel like a tiny speck in this massive arena.”
As for filming Doctor Strange in Nepal, he adds, “It was unbelievable. I was bearded and scraggly, yet despite my appearance, by the end of the first day there were thousands of people surrounding us. It’s incredible.”