Benedict Cumberbatch: I Was Abducted at Gunpoint and Feared for My Life

Kimberly Potts

Don't worry, Cumberbatch fans … he's OK now. But "Sherlock" and big-screen star Benedict Cumberbatch, the cover boy for the Hollywood Reporter's "New A-List" issue, tells the magazine he survived a terrifying incident in which he and some friends were abducted at gunpoint about a decade ago.

"We were in South Africa, in KwaZulu-Natal, this amazing district north of Durban," Cumberbatch told Hollywood Reporter writer Stephen Galloway about a night when he and a pair of pals were driving back to the set of the 2005 miniseries "To the Ends of the Earth."

"It was cold, and it was dark. I felt rotten. We were wary because that's a notoriously dangerous place to drive. Then, poof, the front-right tire blows. So we got the spare, but that meant getting all of our luggage out. We were like sitting ducks, adverts for … not prosperity necessarily but materialism."

[Related: The 21 Surprising Hollywood Actors Whose Names Sell Movies Overseas]

Galloway writes that Cumberbatch got teary while continuing to describe the trauma, in which six armed figures appeared as the group tried to change the tire and abducted him and his friends, driving them to an unknown area. When the actor complained about being bound, he was tossed into the trunk. The car then suddenly stopped in the middle of nowhere.

"I was scared, really scared," says the "Star Trek Into Darkness" actor. "I said: 'What are you going to do with us? Are you going to kill us?' I was really worried that I was going to get raped or molested or just tortured or toyed with in some way, some act of control and savagery."

It was then that the kidnappers surprisingly let Cumberbatch and his friends go, and the actor says he not only immediately developed a new appreciation for simply being alive but for the kindness of a stranger who helped him after he was freed by his captors.

[Related: Benedict Cumberbatch to be Honored at 2013 Britannia Awards]

"I looked into this black man's face, and I cried with gratitude," he said. "F--k it. If that's a cliché, I don't care."

The London-born actor, who stars in four movies this fall, including the family dramedy "August: Osage County," with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, and "The Fifth Estate," in which he plays WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, also talked to THR about the rumors that he'll be among the cast in J.J. Abrams's upcoming "Star Wars: Episode VII" movie. "I don't know. Who knows, who knows? Nothing is known of that," said Cumberbatch, who's nominated for an Emmy as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for "Parade's End." "I worked with J.J. [who directed "Star Trek Into Darkness"]. Obviously, he knows. Everyone who wants to be part of that film, they know about."

[Related: Emmy Nominee Primer: What's 'Top of the Lake' and 'Parade's End'?]

Check out the complete Hollywood Reporter interview, in which Cumberbatch also discusses communicating with Assange about playing the controversial publisher on the big screen, the gossip about Cumberbatch's own love life, and the Emmy nominee's uneasy relationship with his fame.

Watch a preview of "The Fifth Estate":