Doctor Strange is the first film to introduce us to the supernatural side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, exploring parallel and alternate dimensions and the multiverse theory. In the film, Dr. Stephen Strange is an egotistical but brilliant neurosurgeon, played by the ever charming Benedict Cumberbatch. After a horrific accident, modern medicine fails to accelerate his recovery. Distraught and desperate, Strange has no choice but to turn to the mystical arts, where he learns more than he ever bargained for.
Director Scott Derrickson and producor Kevin Feige teamed up together to create a compelling introduction to this new, stunning aspect of the Marvel Universe.
Opposite a stellar cast, including Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton, Mads Mikkelson and Benedict Wong, Doctor Strange definitely exceeds expectations for Marvel’s supernatural storytelling.
Getting the call to be a part of a Marvel film is a pretty big deal, especially when the call is being made out to someone like Tilda Swinton, who compares it to being invited to join the circus. “I keep saying that it’s a bit like being invited to join the circus, you know,’ said Swinton. “You get invited to be the bearded lady or the painted gentleman or something and you may have a chance in the future to play with a clown or learn a bit of trapeze or work with the ponies with the plumes.” She even went as far as to compare super fan Kevin Feige as “the master of the big top.” “It just feels such a lucky break for everybody who’s working in that circus top,” said Swinton.
Benedict Wong, who plays Wong in the film, doesn’t hesitate to agree. “Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I’m so thrilled to be a part of this. I mean, growing us a kid I was always collecting Marvel comics and especially Spider-Man comics, and it’s just lovely to see my investment as a child has the fruition in my adult life. Yeah, so just a wonderful, wonderful
time,” said Wong.
When asked how Derrickson’s Doctor Strange would keep the superhero genre fresh, the Sinister director said, “I mean, you know, the challenge was to try to make a movie that is as visually progressive by movie standards as the Ditko art was in the Sixties, you know. Our primary source of inspiration was the early Stan Lee, Steve Ditko comics, and that artwork is still progressive, you know, you look at lot of the panels in the comics and that was our primary source of inspiration and visual effects have just caught up to where we can do some of the things that we did in this movie.” He added “the trick of it was to not hold back and to push ourselves as far as possible to do original things with the set pieces.” Derrickson recalled some of the early meetings and addressing his goals for the film which were to be the weirdest set piece in any other movie, you know. “Each one of them would be uniquely odd and unusual and refreshing,” said Derrickson. “And that comes out of movie fandom more than anything else, because that’s what I want to see. I want to see event movies that use visual effects sequences for more than just mass destruction, but get more creative with them and find new ways to do them and give me as an audience member some kind of visceral experience that’s unique, because the movies that do that are memorable and change the way you feel about cinema in general.”
Cumberbatch then talked about his geek out moment when he first put on the suit, with the Cloak of Levitation, and the Eye of Agamotto. “Yeah. I was sort of giddy like a child at Halloween,” said Cumberbatch. “It was the first moment, really, properly, and Alex spotted it, our brilliant designer who’s done a few of these films, and she went, ‘Oh, you’re having the superhero moment, aren’t you?'” The Sherlock actor then talked Scott and Kevin’s pitch to him and the character’s place within the MCU.
Discussing how the special effects in the film beautifully carry the story and the characters within the movie, the moderator turned to Benedict Cumberbatch and asked what it was like to be a superhero, joining the ranks of countless other actors who had been welcomed into the Marvel Universe. “The journey he goes on was sort of supremely important to me, and the qualities of drama but also great humor amongst that profundity.,” said Cumberbatch. “That oddness and unique weirdness and newness that we were going to bring visually.”
The actor cites an example where he and his fellow Doctor Strange cast were shooting in New York. ” It really hit home near the end of the main body of the shoot,” said Cumberbatch. “When we were in New York we were on Fifth Avenue and there were as many paparazzi as there were crew, it was getting a little bit surreal – but we were on Fifth Avenue and running down in and sort of jumping, or skipping really, but jumping to fly, and there was the Empire State Building in the same eye line, and it was just a moment of magic to think that the men and women that first crafted these comics on the floors of that building and other buildings in that town, and there I was playing one of those characters.”
Swinton then chimed in reminding him of the time he went to a comic book shop in full costume during one of those shoots. “Didn’t you go into planet or you went into a comic book store,” asked the Academy Award winning actress. Cumberbatch said he did, with Derrickson adding, “I have the video on my phone. I’ve never sent it to anybody but Benedict.” Derrickson then said “It was a spontaneous thing. He said, there’s a comic book store right there. And he was in full zoned out. I said, ‘we have to go in.’ And he goes, ‘we should, shouldn’t we? I go, we’ll film it, it’ll just be us. And we were getting ready to shoot.'” The director then chronicled the events that followed. “The people who were there couldn’t believe that it was Doctor Strange,” said Derrickson. “He just walked in there.”
Doctor Strange will be released in theaters on November 4th, 2016.
Lucy Darby is a graphic designer, freelance marketing assistant and content creator. She is the social media marketing manager for My Big Fat Cuban Family, a Cuban-American lifestyle and cooking blog.