Out Nov. 4 is “Doctor Strange,” the mind-bending cinematic debut of Marvel’s 1960’s sorcerer Stephen Strange. Prior to the film’s release, the team behind the film sat down in Los Angeles to talk about bringing the character to screen and creating the world of Doctor Strange. The panel included producer Kevin Feige, director Scott Derrickson, Benedict Cumberbatch (Stephen Strange), Tilda Swinton (The Ancient One), Rachel McAdams (Christine Palmer), Benedict Wong (Wong) and Mads Mikkelsen (Kaecilius).
Kevin Feige and Scott Derrickson talked about the decision to bring Doctor Strange into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the timing of the introduction:
Feige: You know, timing often, particularly in the cinematic universe, works out well for us and it will be our 14th film within the MCU and we always say, ‘We have to push the boundaries, we have to keep surprising people, we have to keep making them unique and different.’ And certainly this character fits all of that. And also tapping into other dimensions, and tapping into, sort of, that supernatural realm of the Marvel comic universe is going to come in handy as we move forward through the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so the timing was perfect.
Derrickson: As a fan of the comics, growing up with the comics, Doctor Strange was a product of the ’60s and was a big breath of fresh air into the world of comics at that time. And as a fan watching movies, I felt ready for some new, daring, weird left turns in the world of comic books and the MCU. I think “Guardians of the Galaxy” was that, and I was so pleasantly surprised when I saw how bold that movie was.
The cast of the film spoke about what it means to enter into the MCU on the fourteenth film and what drew them to the film:
McAdams: I was just thrilled because of this incredible track record, because you know that so much care and attention and consideration is going to go into the film before you’re even begun. And you’re going get to work with the best of the best in the world at what they do.
Cumberbatch: This film had lots of alluring qualities, lots of things that made me really want to go to it[…] In particular what Scott [Derrickson] and Kevin [Feige] 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 that unique oddness and newness that we were going to bring visually.
Tilda Swinton talked about the challenges of coordinating intricate on-screen hand motions with special effects:
Swinton: Well, that hand choreography is a thing called tutting, and we had a proper master working with us for weeks, I would say…. And he taught us a series of extraordinary, very precise movements which have to be super precise… and you can’t be in front of your face and you have to be exactly the right width so that you’re in the frame.
Finally, Derrickson talked about the “trippier sequences” of the film:
Derrisckson: One of the most creatively rewarding parts of the whole process was to try to think about not just weird, bizarre images, but to think about what can’t be done. The final sequence of the movie was the result of me just thinking, “Well, what can’t you do?”…. Marvel was really completely behind the idea of trying to push the boundaries of what a set-piece, intentful movie can be.