“He could totally be Bond, yeah,” Derrickson replied, presumably for the tenth time already that morning. “I did think about that when we were shooting. How could you not? He’d be a great Bond. And I could see him pulling out a deconstructed sniper rifle and putting it together and taking someone out. But there’s a lot of guys who can do that, but how many guys can go from that to the self-loathing fight scene that he has with Rachel McAdams. Where this inner-anguish and despair is vomiting itself out at another person in the worst way. I mean he is ugly in that scene. People gasped sometimes in the screenings that I sat in, when he really launches at her. It’s kind of unbelievable that he’s behaving that way. And it’s unbelievable in the way that we’ve all been there. We’ve either been that guy, or been in those rooms when it happens. He’s an actor who can do all that, and, frankly, not a lot of actors can.”
But seeing an innate action star quality in someone is one thing. Bringing that out is completely different.
“I don’t know if he was convinced,” Derrickson admitted about Cumberbatch taking on an action movie role. “He’s very game. I don’t think he was doubting that he could do it. I just don’t think he realised what it meant until we were doing it. That would be my honest answer. I don’t think he knew how hard it would be. I don’t think he had any idea how hard it would be to be an action star. Physically, you’ve got to train a long time for every sequence. And in the midst of it – if you’re going to do it yourself, which good actors always want to – you’re gonna get hit, and you’re gonna get kicked, and people are gonna miss, and you’re gonna fall, and you’re gonna get pushed and pulled and yanked and dropped and cut, and to do all of that while you’re trying to hold together a performance, a character, I think he was surprised at that. But I was so elated to discover pretty quickly in the process that I was right. And I think he probably didn’t have much time to doubt himself because I was just like, ‘you’re an action star! this is great!’ And he was…I saw him adjust to it as we went, and he never complained.”
“One question left,” cried the PR lady hovering at the door. I took my chance and asked about the film’s two post-credits scenes.
MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE REST OF THE INTERVIEW.
“I didn’t talk to Taika [Waititi] about that at all,” revealed Derrickson about the Thor/Strange meeting in the mid-credits. “Because we didn’t even know that was going to be the credits scene. We made the movie not knowing what the end credits scenes would be. Taika went in and shot that scene just because it was such a big, expensive set. And before we struck the set, Marvel was like, ‘we’re going to have to have the scene when Strange and Thor meet. Let’s go shoot it!’ So after I left, he just went in there.”
“All the directors are friends. We all talk on the phone or know each other personally. I never even bothered to read the scene. And then when we were talking about tags when we had finished our cut, Kevin brought that one up, and they cut it together, and I was like, ‘this is great! We have to use this!'”
“And then we wrote the scene for [Baron] Mordo – the second tag – afterwards,” Derrickson remembered about the end-credits scene. “Because we had always felt that it would be great to have one more beat to Mordo’s arc, and to put it at the very, very end I think was really the best way to do it.”
“And it presumably sets up a Doctor Strange 2, with Baron Mordo as the central villain?” I cautiously asked.
“Yes. That’s right,” the director quickly answered, forgetting that he’s supposed to tease these things. He paused for a nano-second, collected himself, and then much more calmly continued, “I hope so! I hope so…”
Marvel’s Doctor Strange follows the story of the talented neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a tragic car accident, must put ego aside and learn the secrets of a hidden world of mysticism and alternate dimensions. Based in New York City’s Greenwich Village, Doctor Strange must act as an intermediary between the real world and what lies beyond, utilizing a vast array of metaphysical abilities and artifacts to protect the Marvel cinematic universe.
Doctor Strange is set for release on October 25th in the UK and November 4th in the US, with Scott Derrickson (Sinister) directing a cast that includes Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) as Stephen Strange, Tilda Swinton (Snowpiercer) as The Ancient One, Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) as Baron Mordo, Benedict Wong (The Martian) as Wong, Rachel McAdams (True Detective) as Christine Palmer, Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal) as Kaecilius and Benjamin Bratt (The Infiltrator) in an as-yet-unrevealed role.