Strange tales

> The stars and direc­tor re­call their many mag­i­cal mo­ments in Marvel’s lat­est film

The Sun (Malaysia) - - ENTERTAINMENT -

BENE­DICT CUM­BER­BATCH walks into a Man­hat­tan comic­book store in full su­per­hero re­galia, magic cloak bil­low­ing be­hind him, leafs through a few pe­ri­od­i­cals and asks the owner for a job.

It sounds like the start of a bad joke, but this ac­tu­ally hap­pened dur­ing the fi­nal days of film­ing of Doc­tor Strange, the Bri­tish ac­tor re­vealed re­cently at a news con­fer­ence to pro­mote the film.

The 14th film in Dis­ney’s Marvel Cin­e­matic Uni­verse was about to wrap, and the 40-yearold was run­ning up Fifth Av­enue to­wards the Em­pire State Build­ing when he and direc­tor Scott Der­rick­son spot­ted the store and de­cided to go in.

“I didn’t have any money – I of­fered my ser­vices. I said if the film doesn’t work out, I’ll come and stack the shelves,” joked Cum­ber­batch, at a news con­fer­ence in Bev­erly Hills.

“It was a magic, magic mo­ment – no pun in­tended. And ut­terly, like a lot of things in this film, spon­ta­neous.”

Der­rick­son re­called Cum­ber­batch sud­denly spot­ting the store.

“He’s in full (cos­tume) and I go: ‘We have to go in!’ And he goes: ‘We should, shouldn’t we’?” the film­maker re­counted.

“The peo­ple in there couldn’t be­lieve it – it was Doc­tor Strange! And he walked right up to the Doc­tor Strange comics.”

Filmed in Nepal, New York, Lon­don and Hong Kong, Doc­tor Strange tells the story of world­fa­mous neu­ro­sur­geon Stephen Strange, whose life changes for­ever af­ter a car ac­ci­dent robs him of the use of his hands.

Failed by western medicine, he trav­els to Kath­mandu to a heal­ing cen­tre which, it turns out, dou­bles as the front line of a bat­tle against un­seen dark forces bent on de­stroy­ing re­al­ity.

The stel­lar cast in­cludes Rachel McA­dams, Bene­dict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen and Tilda Swin­ton, all of whom joined Cum­ber­batch at the news con­fer­ence, as well as Chi­we­tel Ejio­for, and Michael Stuhlbarg.

Cum­ber­batch, who rose to global star­dom play­ing the ti­tle role in the hit BBC tele­vi­sion de­tec­tive se­ries Sher­lock, did most of his own fight scenes.

The ac­tor said he was “giddy, like a child at Hal­loween” when he first donned Strange’s mag­i­cal Cloak of Le­vi­ta­tion, prompt­ing an old Marvel hand among the crew to ob­serve: “Oh, you’re hav­ing a su­per­hero mo­ment, aren’t you?”

McA­dams, who plays emer­gency room sur­geon Chris­tine Palmer, Strange’s love in­ter­est, re­vealed that her re­al­life mother San­dra was a nurse.

Although she threw her­self briefly into med­i­cal re­search, she ad­mits she does not have her mother’s health­care vo­ca­tion.

“I was given an of­fer to go in an Evac he­li­copter and do a week­end, which I’m so sad I had to turn down be­cause I’m a ter­ri­ble flyer, and I am re­ally queasy about blood,” she said.

“I thought I would be more of a hin­drance to that op­er­a­tion than a help, so I de­clined that.

“But ev­ery­thing else was su­per-fas­ci­nat­ing and, at a pinch, I could prob­a­bly su­ture some­thing up now.”

Swin­ton, who plays the An­cient One, a mas­ter of the mys­ti­cal arts who trains Strange to be­come a pow­er­ful sor­cerer, said work­ing on a Marvel movie is “a bit like join­ing the cir­cus”.

“You get in­vited to be the bearded lady or the painted gen­tle­man or some­thing, and you may have a chance in the fu­ture to play with a clown or learn a bit of trapeze or work with the ponies,” she told re­porters.

Marvel Stu­dios boss Kevin Feige, she said, was the “sor­cerer supreme”, the “su­per­fan of all su­per­fans” and “the mas­ter of the big top”.

Doc­tor Strange has been in cine­mas glob­ally for over three weeks, and so far has grossed well over US$500 mil­lion (RM2.2 bil­lion) world­wide.

If all goes to plan, Strange will be a big player in the next Avengers movie, Feige an­nounced.

“We’re think­ing it one step at a time. Bene­dict puts on the cloak once again early next year in In­fin­ity War,” he said. – AFP

Cum­ber­batch ... (clock­wise, from top left) play­ing Doc­tor Strange in the movie; with Swin­ton; and McA­dams; and (above) sur­pris­ing fans in a US comic­book store while in cos­tume.

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