Prior to the official word of his casting as Stephen Strange in Marvel’s 2016 release Doctor Strange, despite months of rumors, Benedict Cumberbatch remained vigilantly quiet about the role (no surprise there).
But today, speaking with the Wall Street Journal as a part of his Oscar run for The Imitation Game and his likely Best Actor nod, he spoke out a bit about the potential risk of jumping into the Marvel Universe so soon after a “prestige” picture:
I don’t think it’s a risk because of Marvel. Marvel is a stable of bringing out ordinary comic characters and turning them into screen-like gods. It’s very different, it’s an Astral Plane. There’s a huge new element to this Marvel universe that’s going to be employed in building this story and this character. But you know, I’m really excited about it, about working with Scott [Derrickson] whose imagination is endless, and all the boys and girls at Marvel who know what they’re doing. I’ve got a few things to get under my belt first.
He was also asked about location shooting and if he might be headed to the Himalayas, the comic-based home of Doctor Strange’s mystical powers, and an area that Cumberbatch is very familiar with:
Ahh … you’ll have to wait and see. I’m not going to be eked out on any spoilers or reveals now. It’s quite a way off but I’m very excited about that spiritual dimension, obviously. It’s something that’s been a huge part of my life.
Lastly, he addressed the all important question of reading Doctor Strange comics in his youth:
Growing up, no. I didn’t read many comics at all. Asterix a bit. I think that was it. There weren’t many comics in my household — [in a self-mocking voice] “I’m so deprived.” We didn’t have Marvel so much. But you can bet your bottom dollar I’m reading them now, avidly.
It’ll be fascinating to see which pre-existing Doctor Strange stories, if any, influence the upcoming film directed by Scott Derrickson (Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose) and written by Jon Spaihts (Prometheus). CBR had a pretty nice running list of “Greatest Doctor Strange stories” for those looking to do some homework.
Entertainment Editor for The Beat covering film, television and the occasional comic book. His work can also be found at GeekRex.com and can be heard on the GeekRex podcast. Also, your go-to Grant Morrison/Love & Rockets/Hellboy/Legion of Super-Heroes expert.