Casting can be a tricky science, a matter of landing the right actor at the right time, and then hoping the chemistry between the page and performance sparks to life in front of the camera. And when it comes to “Doctor Strange,” Kevin Feige reveals that landing the ever rising Benedict Cumberbatch wasn’t easy.
“He was someone that we were very interested in for a very long time,” he told EW. “[But] he kept getting more and more popular! [Laughs] Which is not [essential] for us. Chris Pratt was not popular when we cast him in ‘Guardians [Of The Galaxy]‘. That’s not a prerequisite needed for us casting [someone]. But he kept getting more popular, and more popular, and he kept getting busier, and busier, and it looked like the timing wasn’t going to work. So we looked at some other actors for a while and ultimately decided, ‘We have to try and make it work with Benedict and with his schedule.’ Which is why we shifted the production schedule around. He finished Hamlet here in London, and I think had a day off, and then went to Kathmandu, Nepal, to shoot the first day of ‘Doctor Strange.’”
So, call it a little bit of luck, and some commitment from Cumberbatch who decided to dive into a new movie, rather than take a break.
Meanwhile, bits and pieces about what to expect from the movie continue to surface, and the latest intel regard the role of Rachel McAdams, though her exact character name is being kept under wraps.
“Rachel McAdams plays a fellow surgeon that has a history with Strange and is his sort of lynchpin to his old life, once he steps into he role of a sorcerer,” Feige said. “She is someone he connects with at the beginning, and reconnects with, and helps anchor his humanity….She’s kind of this audience point of view.”
Chiwetel Ejiofor is equally coy about his Karl Mordo, not saying whether or not he’ll be a good or bad guy in the picture. “Oh, he’s a very complex character that, really, I don’t think can be nailed down either way, you know,” the actor demurs. “I guess it’s something to experience, is what I’d say,” he said.
Lastly, as for Tilda Swinton‘s role as The Ancient One — depicted as a man in the comics — Feige won’t commit to saying she’s a woman in ‘Strange.’
“Look, she’s a chameleon in everything she does. She has this amazing [ability to] harness of this androgynous sense. So, we use the term ‘her’ and ‘she’ in the film but, other than that, it’s very androgynous. Because it doesn’t matter,” he said, and when pressed he added: “….I think it’s all in the eye of the beholder.”
The answers will be revealed on November 4, 2016.