Benedict Cumberbatch, the star of BBC hit drama Sherlock, is believed to have been cast as a villain in the new Star Trek film.

The British actor has seen his profile rocket over the last year, when he starred in the critically adored Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and was cast in Spielberg's theatre adaptation War Horse.

The new Star Trek film will be a sequel to director J.J. Abram's successful "reboot" in 2009, starring Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto as Kirk and Spock.

The film's script has been written by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Lost writer Damon Lindelof. The film is set for release in 2013.

The casting follows Cumberbatch's complaint last December that his upper-class background and posh accent have typecast him.