Doctor Strange Director Explains 'Psychedelic' Pitch & Diverse Casting

Doctor Strange - Tilda Swinton and Benedict Cumberbatch

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has introduced the audience to Norse Gods, super-soldiers, geniuses with iron suits, and even a talking raccoon and its best friend who happens to be a talking tree. Such a diverse universe was missing a touch of magic and mysticism, which will be brought to the mix by the Sorcerer Supreme in his first standalone movie, Doctor Strange.

Created by Steve Ditko in the ‘60s, Doctor Strange’s comics are charged with colors and the psychedelic vibe of the decade. The visual style of those panels are a big part of what Doctor Strange is all about, taking readers to different dimensions and realms, so it’s only natural that fans expect to see this touch of “trippiness” on the big screen. Luckily, director Scott Derrickson is well aware of that and reassures fans that the movie will indeed include the psychedelia of the comics.

In an interview with Los Angeles Daily News, Scott Derrickson shared the movie has those psychedelic touches that will please fans of the early Steve Ditko comics - as he and his collaborators used the source material as the main resource for the visual design of the movie:

“It’s pretty psychedelic. If your love for the early Stan Lee-Steve Ditko comics was that visual, psychedelic ambition, I think you’ll be pretty satisfied. The primary resource for the visual design of the whole movie came from those comics."

Derrickson went on to talk about the process of pitching his vision of a Doctor Strange movie to Marvel Studios, where he made special emphasis on using big-budget visual effects in order to bring the vision of the comics to life – something we have already seen in the film's trailers. His vision was all about taking a “bold left turn, like the ‘60s comics” and also having actors who are “grounded in performances that are real, while dealing with the supernatural.”

Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One in Doctor Strange

Speaking of actors, Derrickson reassures that Benedict Cumberbatch was the perfect choice for playing Stephen Strange – a multi-layered character that goes through some serious character development, from self-centered neurosurgeon to Sorcerer Supreme, with multiple obstacles in-between:

"[You can] feel that he can play the intelligence, the arrogance, the unlikability and yet intrigue of Stephen Strange, and that the massive arc that the character goes through in those early comics is something that [Cumberbatch] would be able to portray."

Also starring is Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One, Strange’s mentor, who in the comics is portrayed as an old Himalayan man – a choice that ignited controversy everywhere. Derrickson defends his decision of casting Swinton as the Ancient One and his effort to end the early comics’ stereotyping:

“Diversity in movies is absolutely the responsibility of producers and directors. In this movie, we have about as diverse a cast as I think you can get, and that was a very conscious decision. Tilda was a way of adding diversity in terms of not just an ethereal, enigmatic, otherworldly actress playing an ethereal, enigmatic, otherworldly character, but we’re bringing a middle-aged woman who’s not 28 years-old in leather pants into the Marvel Universe in a major role."

He added he was very conscious that by doing this he was erasing a “significant potential Asian role” and that at first Wong (Strange’s manservant played by Benedict Wong) was going to be left out, but once Tilda was cast, Wong was brought back as “unlike the Ancient One, he could be completely subverted as a character and reworked into something that didn’t fall into any of the stereotypes of the comics.”

Doctor Strange will not only take the audience to dimensions that haven’t been fully explored in the MCU before, but will also bring the psychedelia of the comics to the big screen. The film will introduce characters with powers and abilities new to this universe (that will most likely be put to good use in future ensemble movies) - all while hopefully breaking stereotypes with its casting choices, too.

NEXT: New Doctor Strange Poster

Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming– July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019Untitled Avengers – May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.

Source: Los Angeles Daily News

Alternate Iron Man Post-Credits Scene Had X-Men & Spider-Man References

More in Movie News