Benedict Cumberbatch Says DOCTOR STRANGE Is An 'Astral Plane'; Teases 'Huge New Element'
The British actor teases the Marvel adaptation will introduce a new element to the shared cinematic universe, and talks working with director Scott Derrickson, as well as what attracts him to the role!
Benedict Cumberbatch acknowledged very briefly that he'd be headlining Marvel's Doctor Strange adaptation not too long after it was announced late last year, but the English actor offered much more when The Wall Street Journal pressed him at the Palm Springs Festival awards last weekend. When asked what attracted him to the Scott Derrickson-helmed project and whether or not it's a risk to take on, Cumberbatch replied: "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 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. I’ve got to do that little stage production of “Hamlet” in the summer and the Christmas special of “Sherlock,” which we start shooting in about three days’ time – Whoops! Yeah, that’s there." For the record, the Astral plane is the second of seven other levels of existence — Physical, Causal, Akashic, Mental, Messianic, and Buddhaic planes — with connections to the physical world that only psychic beings can visit. That is certainly a new element to be introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but nothing new or different to the comics, given Strange has always practiced Astral projection.
Anyway, when asked about the Ancient One (for whom Marvel is reportedly considering Morgan Freeman, Bill Nighy, and Ken Watanabe) and whether or not filming will take to the Marvel production to the Himalayas, Benedict Cumberbatch remained tight-lipped. "Ahh … you’ll have to wait and see," he teased. "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." Given Strange learns mystic arts from the Ancient One, Cumberbatch was then asked if he'd ever take on some mystic arts himself if he could. "I meditate a lot," he assured. "That’s a huge tool in trying to calm myself, get away from the crazy circus of it all, have a focused mind as well as be a kinder, considerate person in the world. I took a lot of stuff away from my experience in Darjeeling, West Bengal, right at the Nepali border. It was Tibetan Buddhist monks in a converted Nepali house in India, with a view of Bhutan. It was a profoundly formative experience at a very young age. It’s something I’ve tried to keep in my life. It features already." Lastly, Benedict Cumberbatch was asked if he read Doctor Strange comics growing up. "Growing up, no," he admitted. "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."
Directed by Scott Derrickson, Doctor Strange is scheduled for release on November 4, 2016!
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