Doctor Strange is Marvel’s newest comic to film to make it’s mark in the MCU. The comic made it’s debut in 1963 and told the adventures of an egocentric, highly intelligent neurosurgeon who, after a devastating accident, searches for an otherwordly way to heal himself. In the process, he expands his mind, and learns of realms beyond this earth, and he must learn to harness mystical powers in order to become a guardian of the realm we live in.
So, yes, it’s pretty freaking trippy, and all sorts of fun.
At a recent press conference in Los Angeles, we got to hear for the cast, which includes Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange), Rachel McAdams (Christine Palmer), Tilda Swinton (The Ancient One), Benedict Wong (Wong), as well as director, Scott Derrickson and executive producer, Kevin Feige about the making of Doctor Strange.
Benedict Cumberbatch was THE only actor director Scott Derrickson and producer Kevin Feige really wanted for the role of Doctor Strange.
Derrickson: When Kevin and I talked about who we wanted in the role, we landed on Benedict pretty quickly and just felt like he was right. I flew to London, met with him and explained the movie. I think I had some of my concept art, at that point, and Benedict really wanted to do it, but he was doing Hamlet in the theater in London. We were a summer release movie, so it wasn’t going to work. And I came back and met with a bunch of other actors, who were good actors, but I just felt like it had to be Benedict. And Kevin, to his credit, agreed, so we pushed the schedule for him.
“Whoa whoa, what? Kung-fu? I’m in” – Mads Mikkelsen
Mikkelsen: ….for half of my life, I was reading comic books, and the other half, I was watching Bruce Lee. So, when Scott was pitching this story to me, 10 minutes into the pitch, he said, “There’s a lot of Kung Fu and flying stuff.” And I said, “ Whoa, rewind to the Kung Fu bit. I’m on!” It’s a childhood dream coming through. It’s just amazing that at the age of 108, I get the chance to fly around.
Tilda Swinton and Cumberbatch were trained in the art of “finger tutting” and it was a challenge
Swinton: That hand choreography is a thing called tutting. We had a proper master working with us for weeks – just as much as we were learning martial arts, we were learning how to tut with J. Funk. He’s got properly magic fingers. He taught us a series of very precise movements which half to be super precise because if you have to go like that [hold out hands], you’ve got to be at a certain point where the line’s oing to be drawn with your fingers and you can’t hold them in front of your face – which was always my issue. And you have to be exactly the right width. It was kinds hairy and really good fun.
To keep “Doctor Strange” fresh in the MCU, the director looked to the ’60s for inspiration
Derrickson: The challenge was to try to make a movie that is as visually progressive by movie standards, as the Ditko art was in the 60s. Our primary source of inspiration was the early Stan Lee/Steve Ditko comics, and that artwork is still progressive. If you look a lot of the panels in the comics, that was our primary source of inspiration, and visual effects had just caught up to where we could do some of the things that we did in this movie. 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. I remember, in some of my early meetings, saying that my goal was for every set piece in the movie to be the weirdest set piece in any other movie, but each one of them would be uniquely odd and unusual and refreshing. And that comes out of movie fandom, more than anything else, because that’s what I want to see.
Rachel McAdams plays an ER nurse, but she’s actually pretty squeamish about blood
McAdams: My mom’s a nurse and I did not inherit that gene. To get to delve into the medical side of things and shadow this incredible female surgeon in Toronto, and we had a surgeon on set…. I was given the offer to go in an EVAC helicopter which I’m so sad I had to turn down because I’m a terrible flyer and I’m really queasy about blood. I thought I would be more of a hindrance to that operation than a help. In a pinch, I could probably suture up somebody right now.
Cumberbatch’s reaction to seeing himself in full costume for the first time?
Cumberbatch: I was giddy, like a child at Halloween. When I saw it, for the first time, Alex Byrne, our brilliant costume designer, who’s done a few of these films went, “Oh, you’re having as superhero moment, aren’t you?” And I went, “Yeah, I think I am.”
Doctor Strange is confirmed to be seen in Avengers: Infinity War
Feige: Just taking one step at time, he puts on the cloak again early next year in Avengers: Infinity War.
Doctor Strange opens in theaters on November 4th.