Benedict Cumberbatch reveals that being offered the role of the surgeon-turned-superhero initially frightened him. The English actor felt pressured because Marvel Studios adjusted their schedules just to wait for him to finish his other commitments.
The 40-year-old told the Sydney Morning Herald that the studio’s president, Kevin Feige, was certain that he was the right guy to play Stephen Strange in the film.
“He was convinced I was right for it so they delayed filming and the release of this film, which is the first time they’ve ever done that in Marvel’s history, because I was committed to playing Hamlet in the Barbican.”
Benedict felt motivated to give his best because Marvel’s executives went out of their way to accommodate his schedule.
“They reorganised their schedule around mine, which shows a massive amount of faith. That was the most terrifying aspect. I thought, wow, these guys have really invested a lot in their belief that I’m the right person for the job so I’d better deliver and then some. It was good motivation for my part to try and get it right.”
The Imitation Game actor used to be clueless about Doctor Strange until a journalist told him about it while he was promoting Star Trek three years ago. “You’d make a great Doctor Strange,” the journalist remarked. He then checked the comics to find out who the doctor was.
In Doctor Strange, Benedict is a neurosurgeon who got involved in a car accident that damaged his hands. He goes on a journey to find cure where he meets the Ancient One and eventually discovers his superpowers.
Although Doctor Strange has similarities with the other characters Benedict gave life to, he doubted if he could do justice to the role. When he had a meeting with Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson, he wasted no time and expressed his concerns.
The Sherlock star said that he wanted Doctor Strange to have “more humor” and to go on a “really rich journey.” Scott showed him the script which immediately captivated Benedict. He was also given the opportunity to share his thoughts about it.
As a Buddhist, Doctor Strange appealed to Benedict because the doctor is a man of science, but he discovers things that are opposite of what he believes in. He also fancies the idea of helping Marvel create a new wave of superhero movies based on comics.
“That’s incredibly exciting. You’ve got the combination of a great character arc, a lot of action, a lot of humour and some hard-earned moments of heroism in this environment which is going to blow people’s minds. That’s a pretty alluring prospect for an actor.”
Doctor Strange is set to come out next week. Its writer recently shrugged off accusations that the film committed “whitewashing” when it chose Tilda Swinton to play the role of The Ancient One, a character who is portrayed as a Tibetan in the comic books.
Star Trek actor George Takei voiced out his opinion as well. “They cast Tilda because they believe white audiences want to see white faces,” he wrote on Facebook. “Audiences, too, should be aware of how dumb and out of touch the studios think we are.”
At the film’s premiere, Jon Spaihts claimed that they merely searched for ways to “freshen” the stereotypes that were present in the comics. He praised Tilda for being a great artist. C Robert Cargill, also a writer for Doctor Strange, said that it was risky to make the Ancient One a Tibetan in the film because it could “alienate one billion people” in China. The Chinese government has been at odds with Tibet for decades, and they are well-known for banning films on ideological or political grounds.
[Featured Image by Alberto Rodriguez/Getty Images]