Marvel struck gold once again when they cast Benedict Cumberbatch to play Doctor Stephen Strange. In a time when origin stories have become rather tiresome, Doctor Strange managed to be fresh, exciting, and one of the best comic book adaptations yet while taking a major liberty with the source material.
While promoting the film’s Blu-ray release, Collider had the chance to speak with Cumberbatch in London regarding his excitement going forward in the MCU, filming in Nepal, and what else would be on Stephen Strange’s mixtape.
You can read the interview below.
On his role in Phase 3 of the MCU and joining the huge cinematic universe:
It’s very exciting, it was great to be in origin film that’s done this well and I really enjoyed playing him, and even with the reshoots we did, it was great fun to put that costume and persona back on again, so I’m very excited to carry him forward. That’s all I can really say today, you know. But I’m genuinely really, really excited. I’ve got a lot of fun to look forward with the Infinity Wars and I’m sure with his own standalone film again.
Who is your favorite pre-existing character in the MCU?
I’m rubbish on favorites as anyone knows who’s bored themselves by listening to my interviews before, but yeah. There’s a lot of potential fun to have with mixing him into the ingredients that are already there, so I can’t wait.
On Doctor Strange being nominated for an Academy Award:
Yeah! Well, he’s right here, but yeah. Very deserving, SFX Department.
On whether or not director Scott Derrickson gave him any idea that the visual effects would be filled with kaleidoscopic views?
Well, he and Ceretti, Stephane Ceretti who’s been nominated, and I’m so thrilled for him and his team, they really were incredible. They had already done a huge amount of pre-visualization work, which is, it’s a very kind of basic form compared to what the finished product is, but you get an idea of what the environment is you’re working in or what happens to it or you in it, and it’s then about making sense of sometimes very particular, technically accurate camera moves or any kind of framing that goes on.
It’s all smoke and mirrors, all of it. Whether you’re doing something in front of an incredibly realistic backdrop that Charlie Woods might have designed—I mean, he’s another person who I wish would also have been nominated, because you always look at these films as the world that’s created in edits or some kind of post-production or post-the day of shoot environment, and yet on the day there was some sets we were on, like the Hong Kong streets at the end, that was a month’s worth of shooting on an incredible street that was an amalgamation of all sorts of pieces of Hong Kong. It was phenomenal, I mean, it was so realistic, I remember at one point there was a grip who went in to fix a piece of machinery in a machine shop that was just part of the set dressing. These places on set actually worked. I mean, they were extraordinary acting environments where not only you, but also the camera could just spin 360 degrees and you leave the environment you’re in. So that’s a huge help. That’s a huge, huge help. And obviously there were days where you were literally kind of going, I’ve got to step outside this studio because I’ve been looking at green now 360 degrees for twelve hours. But surprisingly, a small amount of that compared to what you see on screen in the end. And Scott, you know, verbally would talk through obviously what was going on with the character, but you know, we had this wonderful attunement as well.
On what was it like filming in Nepal after the 2015 earthquake, which made shooting a film such as this a big deal for the area.
It was, and for us to be there, and I was kind of—I was very, very adamant that we should, after the earthquake happened that we should still, because by then I was sort of attached to the film, and I said, look, I know insurers will be scratching their heads, but we’ve got to do this. It’s going to give such an incredible authenticity to the opening of the film, but more importantly, it’s exactly the time we should be going to a country that’s been through what they’ve been through, and show the world that they can support the infrastructure of a film like ours, and that it’s a place that’s open for business, and it was incredible. It was so well looked after, it was an utterly inspiring environment to be for the kind of, not just the visual backdrop but the whole sort of spiritual backdrop of this film.
Some of the holiest sights on earth for Buddhists and Hindus and multiple faiths are all there, and to be in amongst that when your character on his last legs bumbling around looking for some answer to heal himself as you see in this film, and then finding something a little deeper was profoundly important and really inspiring, I think, for all the crew to sort of see, okay, this is a slightly different direction for Marvel, this is the kind of film we’re committing to. It was magical, absolute magic, and I can’t wait to go back there, just as a tourist.
On what other music would be on Stephen Strange’s awesome mixtape?
It would be an awesome mixtape, I should get Scott on to that, definitely. Oh, I don’t know, I mean, there’s lots of stuff I listen to which he may, he may listen to. I think, you know, Radiohead would feature, Elbow. I’m just mentioning all my favorite bands. No, I mean, if he can go from Chuck Mangione to Pink Floyd, I think you’re covering a lot of bases. It would be a very, very interesting time as a DJ. And why not? Why not?
Give it to Star-Lord.
Yeah! We should exchange tapes! [laughs]
Give him some new tunes. He’s stuck in the 80s, after all. Get him up to date.
That is a great idea. That is a great idea. Both Star-Lord and Strange have quite a lot of music going on in their worlds.
Doctor Strange stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Scott Adkins, Mads Mikkelsen, and Tilda Swinton. Here’s the official synopsis:
Marvel’s Doctor Strange follows the story of the talented neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a tragic car accident, must put ego aside and learn the secrets of a hidden world of mysticism and alternate dimensions. Based in New York City’s Greenwich Village, Doctor Strange must act as an intermediary between the real world and what lies beyond, utilizing a vast array of metaphysical abilities and artifacts to protect the Marvel cinematic universe.
Doctor Strange is currently available on Digital HD. The film will be released on 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and DVD tomorrow.