Even as the dust settles from “Captain America: Civil War,” Marvel Studios is preparing to travel to another dimension in “Doctor Strange.”
With film’s blend of magic and alternate realities, director Scott Derrickson promises the Sorcerer Supreme’s big-screen debut will have a visual flair the Marvel Cinematic Universe hasn’t seen before.
“If your love for the early Stan Lee-Steve Ditko comics was that visual, psychedelic ambition, I think you’ll be pretty satisfied,” he told the Los Angeles Daily News. “The primary resource for the visual design of the whole movie came from those comics.”
Derrickson, known more for his horror films “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” and “Sinister,” said he met with Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige eight times before he landed the “Doctor Strange” gig, adding they quickly saw eye-to-eye on who should play Stephen Strange: Benedict Cumberbatch.
“You feel that he can play the intelligence, the arrogance, the unlikability and yet intrigue of Stephen Strange,” Derrickson explained, “and that the massive arc that the character goes through in those early comics is something that he would be able to portray.”
“Doctor Strange” has drawn its fair share of criticism, most notably for casting Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One, who in the comics is an elderly Asian man. Although Marvel has said Swinton’s Ancient One is of Celtic decent, Derrickson still came under fire for casting a non-Asian actress in the role.
“Tilda was a way of adding diversity in terms of not just an ethereal, enigmatic, otherworldly actress playing an ethereal, enigmatic, otherworldly character,” he said, “but we’re bringing a middle-aged woman who’s not 28 years old in leather pants into the Marvel Universe in a major role.”
Derrickson admitted he knew Swinton’s casting was “erasing a significant potential Asian role,” but added that it led to his decision to change Benedict Wong’s character Wong from his subservient role in the comics.
“I was going to leave Wong out of the movie at first; he was an Asian sidekick manservant, what was I supposed to do with that?” he said. “Unlike the Ancient One, he could be completely subverted as a character and reworked into something that didn’t fall into any of the stereotypes of the comics.”
Also starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams and Mads Mikkelsen, “Doctor Strange” opens Nov. 4.
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