Have I mentioned I love my job? I really am proud to say that. My job as a Blogger and Social Media Influencer lets me live out my fangirl moments. I’ve been a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch for years. He’s been in numerous TV and Films that I just adore. When I saw he was going to join the MCU I became ecstatic. I knew he, as Doctor Strange, would just kill it. Every single trailer, clip, and featurette out on the internet I devoured. Then I saw the film a few weeks ago and my mind was BLOWN. More on the film later this week.
Sometimes when actors or filmmakers walk into a room of 25 Mom and Dad Bloggers they become flustered at first. We clapped and warmly accepted Mr. Cumberbatch and he truly was a part of our family for about 20 minutes. Now let’s get on to the interview itself!
Q: How was it working on a set that you didn’t have everything on?
BC: I mean the thing about the set it’s a huge mixture. Sometimes on Marvel you have rooms with camera 360 frames you can use within the film. Then other days you are literally in a room – I mean not that many, I have to say – where the walls, the floors, everything but the ceiling is diffused light, it’s green or blue. You don’t know what time it is, you can’t get horizons or space right. It’s very, very confusing. But, you know, you have this incredibly complex previs which is, you know, cartoon format. It’s sort of story boarding. So you know exactly where you are, exactly what elements or environments are gonna be moving around you, and then it’s the same old game of acting. You just turn up to eleven. Everything we do as actors is imaginary circumstances. It’s a form of artifice and smoke and mirrors. Stepping on the stage you’ve got a full floor in front of… Even if I would walk into this room with a hidden camera, at some point you understand that you’re walking in a character you may be keeping and in order for somebody somewhere to see it. So there’s always in the back of your head the idea that you’re being watched or you’re performing.
You have to sort of make believe. You really do. There were days when it was more childish belief… and there were other days when an awful lot of stuff was there. The hardest stuff is sometimes doing the movement, or the spells, or anything to do with what are his powers involved or the weapons he used. So it’s just magic stuff out of the air, literally, to fight with the times. Obviously some of the relics he uses, especially the cloak, they animate, but, not on the day. So I’d have a short different colored one would then be just this, whatever it is in the film. This beautiful thing I hope. Then I’d have to just take a leap of really of faith. It’s easier weirdly, with everything with place, or with nothing. You know what I mean. When it’s in between that’s when you can get a little bit of, well is this gonna be a sort of width of light or is it gonna be, you know, what it’s not gonna be, what it is, sort of thing, shooting out of my hand and…
Q: Speaking of your cloak, what did you feel the first time you saw yourself with everything on? And, how long did it take to get into costume, out of costume?
BC: Oh, well I felt like a kid. I mean it was just amazing. It was the first proper moment when I thought, oh my God, I’m actually playing a superhero. There’s nothing like it and,(I) was very giddy. Really, really giddy. I mean we’d been trying little bits of the cos- well actually a lot of the costume on, for about – I forget exactly the time, but something like a month. We might have even had some tests as well. A lot of the civilian stuff at the beginning, and this was a deterioration of that and his journey to kinda do. Then with the costume proper just very slowing it’s grading up to what you see at the end of the film.
I just remember smiling like this. It was just…you can’t contain yourself. I never had this on my bucket list. I mean not even this character, but not even being a superhero. I never wanted as an actor thinking… I didn’t ever think one day I’ll be a superhero. Or I’d like to try that. As a kid I really enjoyed- and as an audience member of Marvel’s cinematic universe, I just enjoyed being a part of watching it. I never thought, oh yeah, I fancy to get at that, but the minute I heard I was like yeah. Let’s get down to business. Great, great fun. And then the other moment that was a really pinch yourself superhero moment I guess was running down Fifth Avenue with literally with the silhouette of the Empire State Building at one end, going that’s the building that people crafted storyboards and built these comics on paper at the very beginning of all of this. I’m running along in red and blue, jumping, pretending to take off on Fifth Broadway. I mean Fifth Avenue. It was amazing. It was amazing. Very cool.
I only answer(ed) one of your questions, though. Sorry. You said the first two – I forgot…
Q: How long did it take to get into costume?
BC: Oh that’s not interesting but it- it was, uh… [LAUGHS] Sorry. I mean I’d say it is a Monday night so I think it really depended what state it was in. So the whole thing…we were pretty nutty. Actually, Nick was brilliant, my costume guy. I mean ‘cause you just really do need to become clamped into it. It took us about half an hour, twenty minutes to half an hour. The boots were the longest thing, actually. The boots were the longest thing ‘cause those are real- real laces. It’s not Velcro. I kept on saying, guys, if it just was a zip… [LAUGHS] No, and then, you know, beautiful laces always ready. Alex is brilliant at this and she studied a lot the design. So there was a lot of stuff that early on I went, there’s no way I could do this movement. So that got elasticated. TAlso getting stuff on with prosthetics, and my arm and my hand sometimes the cloth would just be working the makeup off. So that had to be elasticated with the sort of details around the arms here. So we just refined it and finessed it and that- that was the same through production. So I’d say the fastest we got it was about twenty minutes.
I’m going to PAUSE this interview right here. I know you are thinking what in the world is she doing? However, I needed to add this in.
The photo above was taken as Mr. Cumberbatch was answering my questions about becoming a superhero and his costume. Remember how I said I was a fan of his? I might have been distracted by his eyes, his smile, and his adorable demeanor during that last question. Just a bit. Don’t worry though. I kept my composure and didn’t embarrass either one of us. No, let’s continue with the interview. 😉
Q: I was gonna ask about the article of you wearing your costume into a café in Manhattan. Can you tell us about that?
BC: It was brilliant. Well basically, I had friends in England, but friends in America, and Sophie (his wife) as well was on set. The first day we’d all been out all together on the set. It was madness. There were more paparazzi than there were crew. I just sort of thought this is getting… It happens. But also I feel protective of the film and also just sort of downtime with friends I don’t really wanna just all the time be photographed. It’s really distracting when you’re working and also when you wanna just clock off for a second.
So I said let’s just go somewhere. Shall we just go somewhere? And they went, you’re in costume, you’ve got makeup on. I went, yeah, but it’s New York. Sure enough that’s exactly what happened. Sophie went I used to work around the corner, this little café. I can’t believe we’re here. Shall we try that one? I was like yeah. I expected to walk in and get the kinda like, hey Sophie! Kinda like a family welcome. She meant she took at laptop there to work. So I didn’t realize until we were in there. So we went in there and it was like, hey guys, yeah, it’s…and there wasn’t that reaction. But there was this New York moment which was just out of Ghostbusters, you know, when Rick Moranis is banging on the window going, please help me! Help me! And the dogs are chasing him. And they all turn around and say look at him. And then, you know, he goes…speaks on his ass. And then they all go, anyway, as I was saying… [LAUGHTER] just everything goes back to normal in like five minutes in New York. So it really was that. I ordered an Arnold Palmer, I sat down, got a little bit hot. My makeup artist wasn’t thrilled. Donald. He was like, ah, gonna have to do your beard again, oh… [LAUGHTER] And that was it. That was it, you know.
We just sat down and we were there for a good sort of twenty-five minutes whilst they did the next set up. It was bliss. Then on the very last day, which I think was a couple of days later. The very last day of the whole of that shoot we did some pickups. But, um, that era of the shoot, let’s say. We were in- we were starting a run. Chiwetel and I were running as usual away from that, creating some destruction and well I- all the people- look to your left, look to your left. And I looked, and it was a comic book store. We’d just started the scene, we were right by a comic book store. So anyway… [LAUGHTER] …have become a sort of Halloween horror at that point and didn’t really care.
So I’m gonna go. I’m just gonna go everywhere in my costume. [LAUGHTER] I thought it’d be funny for them to see one of the guys off the shelf come in and say hello. [OVERLAPPING] It was very funny. It was very funny. They were already dry, but again, like New Yorkers, they’re like okay, cool, nice to see you. I said, look if the movie doesn’t work out can I come and stack shelves for you? [LAUGHTER] Coffee, you know. And they were like yeah, no, that’d be great.
Q: Can you tell us about the audition process and what your reaction was when you got the role?
BC: This started with a conversation in this town with an LA Times journalist, I think, and he sat on the roof of Bad Robot when we were doing Star Trek press. You’d make a great Doctor Strange. I went Doctor who? And he went, no, that as well…then I was intrigued. I read it a bit and I thought okay, I can sort of see why he meant that. But this is very much a comic of its time. It’s about cultism and east meets west mysticism, you know, in the ‘60s. It’s got all those sort of psychedelic elements, like real big left turn that (they) did with his drawings which was just mind blowing still. It didn’t immediately strike from my box, or whatever the phrase is. Then Kevin and Steve called and I went into, for Marvel and we had a proper grown up discussion about it. And I was like, oh, okay, this could be really interesting. My slow brain woke up to the fact that in the 21st Century you can make magic look pretty cool on the big screen.
Most importantly was when I sat down with Scott and I gave him a few of my concerns about the onuses of the character, how sort of acerbically arrogant he was. I thought I play other elements of that in other characters as you probably know, and I wanna just round the edges a little bit. Make him more human, understand what makes him who he becomes. So he talked to me. He pitched the origin story and that humor was gonna be really important to him. That the bewilderment maybe of a 21st century audience is if you go on his ride with him you experience like a little bit of the experiences.
He just won me over and I really like Scott as a person as well. I have to admit, I’ve never seen one of his films all the way through because I’m terrible at watching horror films. I can’t do it. It affects my imagination in a really bad way. I have seen a lot of his previous work. The combination was intoxicating and I was just won over. Then they said, oh, we wanna film it now. At this particular point. I went I can’t. I can’t. I’m doing Hamlet. I was committed to a theater, and director, and producer and designer and people in the cast were something to be talked about. I couldn’t. It went away for a bit and I was heartbroken. And then they came out and said we can’t not make this film with you. We really need it to be you. For the first time ever in Marvel’s history, they postponed the schedule of the making and the release of the film. Which was amazing. And that, from the ultimate fan boy in Kevin, was a particularly amazing thing. And it meant I had a huge amount of responsibility to live up to their faith in me, but that was a great motivation.
So that was sort of the audition process. It was very flattering but it wasn’t an audition as such. They already had it in mind. Um, so yeah.
As you can see, Benedict is just as excited about playing Doctor Strange as the world is at seeing him in the movie. He was charming AND he announced at the World Premiere of the film that he and his lovely wife Sophie are expecting their Second Child! So Congrats to him on both that and the upcoming release of a fantastic addition to the MCU.
A neurosurgeon with a destroyed career sets out to repair his hands only to find himself protecting the world from inter-dimensional threats.
***Disclosure: I attended the #DoctorStrangeEvent My flight, lodgings, and expenses were covered by Disney All opinions are 100% mine. ***