I recently had the great opportunity to attend the press junket for the visual roller coaster of a film Marvel’s Doctor Strange. I’m a huge nerd, so you know I was excited to attend. I have been looking forward to this film since it was announced and their presentation at this years San Diego Comic Con blew my mine. Almost the entire main cast and film makers were in attendance including Benedict Cumberbatch (“Dr. Stephen Strange”), Rachel McAdams (“Christine Palmer”), Tilda Swinton (“The Ancient One”), Benedict Wong (“Wong”), Mads Mikkelsen (“Kaecilius”), Director Scott Derrickson, and (Producer and large in in charge of all things Marvel Studios) Kevin Feige. Here are a few tid-bits that we learned about the film while chatting with the cast and film makers at the junket.
What’s it really like to be part of this this Marvel Universe?
Well, I mean, I was just thrilled, because of this incredible track record that you know so much care and attention and consideration is going to go into the film before you’ve even begun. You know that you’re going to get to work with the best of the best in the world at what they do, so it’s just this like treasure trove of talent. I just couldn’t wait to dive into that!
I keep saying that it’s a bit like being invited to join the circus, you know? 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. The reason that feels like a correct way to describe is that everybody’s so psyched. I mean, even the Sorcerer Supreme, Kevin Feige’s just the super fan of all super fans and he’s the master of the big top and it just feels such a lucky break for everybody who’s working in that circus top.
I mean, I’m so thrilled to be a part of this. I mean, growing up a kid I was always collecting Marvel comics, especially Spider Man comics and it’s just lovely to see my investment as a child has come into fruition in my adult life! It’s just a wonderful, wonderful time.
For Benedict, when you got all decked out with the cloak and looked in the mirror the first time and saw yourself as Doctor Strange, were you like, wow this is cool?
I was sort of giddy like a child at Halloween. It was the first moment 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? I went, yeah, I think I am. It really was the penny drop moment for me. This film had lots of alluring qualities, lots of things that made me really want to do it. This character in particular and what Scott and Kevin were pitching to me is his trajectory, his origin story and where he was going to lie within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But the journey he goes on was sort of supremely important to me, and the qualities of drama but also great humor amongst that profundity and that oddness and unique weirdness and newness that we were going to bring visually. So, I’d kind of put the hero thing on the back burner, so when I first had that moment, I really was quite giddy. I would stand up and just start giggling. And then the second time I put it on, it really hit home. It was near the end of the main body of the shoot. We were in New York and 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.
Tilda Swinton interrupted Benedict to remind him he went comic book shopping in costume. Which must have been amazing to see!
And didn’t you go into a comic book store in costume? Did you buy a Doctor Strange comic?
Yes, I went into a comic book store, which was the last day shooting in New York and Scott was just like, look, look.
I have the video on my phone. I’ve never sent it to anybody but Benedict. It was a spontaneous thing. He said, there’s a comic book store right there. And he was in full costumed 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, and I said okay, and I put the camera on him and then he just said – okay, he introduced himself, he said, okay, I’m about to go into this comic book store, and I followed him in and the people who were there couldn’t believe that it was Doctor Strange. He just walked in there. And he bought a couple Doctor Strange comics.
I didn’t have any money so I didn’t buy any comics. But I offered my services. I said, look, if the film doesn’t work out, I’ll come and stack the shelves for you.
Might be a bit heartbreaking, like Doctor Strange, Issue number five, oh god.
Yeah, I remember the comic book store owner said that’d be fine but you had to keep your American accent if you were going to work there.
Which would have probably amused him as much as us. But yeah, it was a magical moment, no pun intended. It was very special and utterly surreal, like a lot of things in this film. The last shot of us running away and Mads chasing me, there was that comic book store. It was incredible.
The hand choreography and precision showcased in the film to conjure the spells is amazing. We had to ask them about this and how it came to be!
Well, that hand choreography is a thing called tutting. We had a proper master working with us for weeks, I would say it’s just like learning martial arts. We were learning how to tutt, with J-Funk who is somewhere here possibly, but if he’s not, you should go on YouTube and look for J-Funk ‘cause he really knows how to do it and he’s got proper magic finger. Like real non-CGI magic fingers. And he taught us a series of extraordinary, very precise movements, which have to be super-precise because if you’re going to go like that, you have to be at a certain point where the line is going to be drawn between your fingers and you can’t go off course and have it be in front of your face, which was always my issue. I was always in front of my face with it. And then you have to be exactly the right width, so that you’re in the frame, and it was super-precise and king of hairy, but really good fun!
And last but not least, a little spoiler alert! Kevin Feige was asked will there be an arc about the Illuminati. Will that be making a presence in any of the future films in the MCU?
Well, what’s fun about the Illuminati, are certain characters interacted with other certain characters, so I don’t know about that particular storyline, but certainly some of those characters you will see together on screen in the next Avengers film.
It’s always so much fun to get to meet all these amazing talented actors (who I love) and learn about what happened behind the scenes!
DOCTOR STRANGE opens in theatres everywhere on November 4th!
For more info Visit the official DOCTOR STRANGE website here: https://marvel.com/doctorstrange
Stay tuned for our review of the film launching on November 4th too!