The role of Benedict Cumberbatch once played by Orville’s Mark Jackson – Exclusive
In many American film and television projects, it is not at all unusual to see actors in small roles later becoming the stars of much larger budget productions. However, according to Mark Jackson, the normal trajectory for British actors can be a bit different. “In the UK, most actors are stage actors who do a bit of TV or film on the side,” Jackson explained. As such, the vast majority of his roles before “The Orville” took place on stage.
In 2015, Jackson began starring as Captain Stewart in the National Theater’s production of “War Horse” in London’s West End (via BroadwayWorld). While every role in a stage production is likely a beast of its own making, this particular part actually came with a literal beast of its own. Jackson said, “I have to ride one of the horses every night.” As the name suggests, much of the story centers around a very special quadruped named Joey. However, rather than issues with real horses, the production uses life-size puppets, each being maneuvered by multiple performers throughout the play.
The play “War Horse” was first adapted in 2007 from Michael Morpurgo’s 1982 novel of the same name, and it’s received plaudits since it first opened (via National Theatre). Those unfamiliar with the direction may be more familiar with the film adaptation of Steven Spielberg’s “War Horse.” The 2011 film received positive reviews from critics and audiences, who praised the emotional journey through the heart of the story (via Rotten Tomatoes). In Spielberg’s take on the story, Stewart is played by future “Doctor Strange” actor Benedict Cumberbatch.
You can watch all three seasons of “The Orville” on Hulu and Disney+.