Doctor Strange actor Benedict Cumberbatch recently claimed that before he accepted the role of Doctor Strange he believed he was a “dated, sexist character.”
Cumberbatch’s comments come in a recent interview he gave with Esquire.
When asked if Marvel approached him about the role, Cumberbatch responded, “Yes, yes they did.”
Then when asked how quickly he said yes, Cumberbatch stated, “I kind of had my doubts about it, from just going into the comics. I thought ‘This is a very dated, sexist character’.”
He continued, “And it’s very tied up in that crossover, that kind of East meets West occultism movement of the Sixties and Seventies.”
Cumberbatch then detailed, “And then they sort of sold me on the bigger picture, on ‘Oh no, don’t worry, this will be very much a character of his time. And, yes, he has attitude problems… but this is what we envisage.’”
Interestingly enough, Cumberbatch then detailed that he actually had a scheduling conflict for when Marvel wanted to film the movie.
Cumberbatch explained, “And then I realised ‘Oh f***, I can’t do it.’ I promised to do Hamlet [at the Barbican]. It’s all set-up, the theatre’s booked, I can’t do it when you want to shoot it.”
He then stated, “They flirted with a couple of other options, then they came back and said ‘We don’t want anyone else to do it.’”
Cumberbatch would go on to discuss the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness film.
He said, “I’ve got the Second Album Fear with this one, like anyone should, because the first one was such a riotous success and he’s become a much-loved character.”
“They’re very good at exceeding expectations, when expectations are low. I think it’s always harder to exceed them when they’re high. I’m not saying they make them low. ‘We’re going to do Ant-Man!’ It’s just the way they make these things work,” he continued.
He then added, “On paper you think ‘Is that exciting?’ They’re starting to take more risks now, I think. I mean, their directors are very tied into the house style. But, you know, Taika Waititi, they were, like, ‘Are we…? Is this going to work?’ And it’s f***ing so funny, Thor: Ragnarok.”
These comments about him believing Doctor Strange to be a “dated, sexist character” come after Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige told Rolling Stone that Doctor Strange was cut from WanaVision because he’s a white male character.
Feige said, “I haven’t talked about this before, but we had a deal with Benedict [Cumberbatch] to pop up at the end of WandaVision, or somewhere in WandaVision.”
“Because we knew we wanted to connect them [Wanda’s next appearance is in the second Dr. Strange movie, next year’s Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness], and wouldn’t it be great. But as we worked on the show, and on the movie, we realized there was no reason to really do that,” he continued.
Later in the interview he added, “Some people might say, ‘It would’ve been so cool to see Dr. Strange,’ but it would have taken away from Wanda, which is what we didn’t want to do.”
“We didn’t want the end of the show to be commoditized to go to the next movie, or, ‘Here’s the white guy, let me show you how power works.’ That wasn’t what we wanted to say.”
Feige concluded, “So that meant we had to reconceive how they meet in that movie. And now we have a better ending on WandaVision than we initially thought of, and a better storyline in Dr. Strange. And that’s usually how it works, which is to lay the chess pieces the way you want them to go in a general fashion, but always be willing and open to shifting them around to better serve each individual one.
What do you make of Cumberbatch’s comments regarding Doctor Strange?