This weekend, Marvel’s newest superhero entry about the Sorcerer Supreme himself, Doctor Strange, hit theatres with a big opening weekend, beating out both Dreamwork’s Trolls, and Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge in the process. Director Scott Derrickson recently talked to Vulture, about the difficulty with bringing magic to the big screen in a new and creative way.
“I think that magic tends to be something where you cast a spell and then the camera sits back and you watch something happen. I didn’t want it to be that. I wanted it to be in the action, I wanted it to be more organic.” He also wanted it to be more physical, which is when one of his producers introduced him to JayFunk’s music videos.”
I love the idea of making magic a physical and organic type of action, rather than the spells used in films like that of Harry Potter. And it was important to be able to differentiate between the two, as they both deal with the mystical and the supernatural. It’s also pretty funny to hear that the magic was inspired by a YouTube artist.
“[JayFunk’s] one of the world’s best tutters,” Derrickson said, referring to a style of street dance that involves intricate hand movements. “He does these amazing things with his fingers, go look him up on YouTube. We hired him to do all the choreography [of the spells], so he taught Tilda and Benedict and Mads. It’s very specific and very deliberate and super-cool.”
After seeing Doctor Strange, it’s a cool bit of trivia, learning that JayFunk was the one who choreographed all of the awesome action that takes place in the film. It’s also interesting to note that Mr. Derrickson went on to state that the choreography had to get more and more intricate, with the difficulty of the spells. He goes on to talk about one in particular.
“I gave the mandala to [J-Funk] and I said, ‘I need gestures that will last this amount of time to build this,’” Derrickson continues. “So we talked about, ‘Okay, so she’ll do this and then this part will appear and she’ll do this and then this part will appear and then she’ll spin this part.’ It was all very detailed and designed and he was awesome. I’m really glad we used him.”
If you haven’t managed to catch Doctor Strange yet in theatres, you should, because it is a masterwork of both effects and ancient and philosophical tradition. And learning that a YouTube artist was able to make that world feel all the more real is both hilarious and incredible.
You can catch Doctor Strange, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, and Mads Mikkelsen in theatres now.