Well, it seems the days of award-winning, dramatic actors shying away from the ‘mainstream’ world of ‘comic book movies’ has truly come to a close; not due to a changing view of the genre’s integrity – not entirely, at least – but due to the term no longer applying to a single type of movie. It may still be an arena dominated by star-spangled Avengers or caped crusaders, but elsewhere, a Suicide Squad led by director David Ayer will go toe-to-toe with Marvel’s most mystic hero, Doctor Strange (with both films boasting plenty of Oscar nominees).
But even as actress Rachel McAdams has confirmed the rumors of her involvement in Strange, it seems another DC Comics story may have her attention. Not a Justice League heroine, but the star of Vertigo’s Black Orchid – a title spawned by the same mind behind Sandman.
Before getting into that, it seems that some more light can be shed on McAdams current/possible involvement in Scott Derrickson’s Doctor Strange. In early July, word first surfaced that McAdams had been offered the lead role – a claim that McAdams essentially confirmed in a recent interview with the L.A. Times (although stopping short of confirming that she had been “offered” the role, should she choose to accept it).
In a recent Twitter exchange between TheWrap‘s Jeff Sneider and Variety‘s Justin Kroll, the former claims the role opposite Cumberbatch HAS been offered to McAdams, implying that the past month has seen little change or progress on her end. Fans shouldn’t read too much into that, since an actress of McAdams’ caliber can be expected to choose between any number of roles for her next project. But given the uproar over the actress’ apparent confirmation (though unsure if talks with Marvel will “go anywhere at all”), her entire response to L.A. Times has been offered in full – and is sure to get comic fans in even more of a frenzy:
“That’s sort of super early days and I don’t know where that’s gonna go, if it’s gonna go anywhere at all. I’m certainly not a comic book snob. I really enjoy them and reading them, I think the Doctor Strange franchise is really interesting and Benedict is amazing. And I love graphic novels. I love that they are coming to light.
“I always wanted to make “Black Orchid.” It’s a tough one. But the fact that Doctor Strange is happening makes me think there’s hope for more Neil Gaiman out there.”
For those who are unfamiliar with the “Black Orchid” series – likely a massive community – it’s best described as yet another dream-like, otherworldly tale from Sandman creator Neil Gaimain, one of Vertigo’s most iconic authors.
The ‘Black Orchid’ title has been held by a number of heroines in DC’s history, and while it’s unclear which version the actress is referring to, the official description of Gaiman’s re-imagining gives a good sense of what to expect:
After being viciously murdered, Susan is reborn fully grown as the Black Orchid, a hybrid of plant and human, in order to avenge her own death. Now as this demigoddess attempts to reconcile her human memories and botanical origins, she must also untangle the webs of deception and secrets that led to her murder. Beginning in the cold streets of a heartless metropolis and ending in the lavish heartland of the thriving Amazon, this book takes the reader through a journey of secrets, suffering, and self-rediscovery.
In other words, McAdams may warn that she is no snob in the sense of looking down her nose at comic books as a whole – but there’s no question her interests in the genre are… respectably refined.
It would be a stretch to say her interest in the comic book has any impact on her potential Marvel deal, since there hasn’t been much evidence that any Black Orchid adaptation is in the works at Warner Bros. or New Line. At present, even Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Sandman seems to be progressing slowly (to be expected, given how dense and expansive Gaiman’s comic series really is). While a Black Orchid adaptation would be just as ambitious and experimental, describing it as a Vertigo title may imply it to be more detached from the DC Universe than it actually is; both Lex Luthor and Batman play a role in the series, and Orchid would go on to join forces with Justice League Dark members Swamp Thing and John Constantine.
There’s no question that McAdams would be a solid choice to help bring the story to film (considering she is already on board with its at-times heady mythology), but her question – whether there’s a future in films based on Neil Gaiman’s graphic novels – should be discussed every bit as much as her potential to star in one.
At this point, fans should take McAdams’ comments at face value: she’s undecided on Doctor Strange, but is clearly open to consider a role in any comic book film, even a fantastical Marvel adventure. And if nothing else, it’s nice to know that there’s another high-profile advocate for Neil Gaiman’s comic work making their opinions known.
What do you think of McAdams’ comments? Do you hope to see her join Doctor Strange, and the MCU as a whole? Or should Warner Bros. jump at the chance to bring her into their own movie universe?
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