Benedict Cumberbatch feels comic fan pressure over Doctor Strange role

Agence France-Presse

Playing a superhero isn’t easy, but the Sherlock actor wants to do Doctor Strange justice

Agence France-Presse |

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Director Scott Derrickson said there was no one else he could imagine playing Doctor Strange apart from Benedict Cumberbatch, pictured above in the character’s signature red cloak.

British film star Benedict Cumberbatch said on Thursday that the pressure is on to please diehard comic fans as he takes on the role of Marvel’s Doctor Strange, the superhero sorcerer.

Speaking in Hong Kong ahead of the movie’s release later this month, Cumberbatch said he hoped his first time playing a superhero would meet the high bar of enthusiasts.

“These comics and the films that Marvel make are driven by the people who read them and are fans,” Cumberbatch said.

“It’s very important to us that the fans are thrilled, that their expectations are met, but most importantly that they’re exceeded,” he added.

With co-star Tilda Swinton, director Scott Derrickson and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige at his side, Cumberbatch also said playing the character had rubbed off – and he too wished he could have a superpower.

“I’d love to be able to fly,” he said.

“There’s nothing better than that, and I got to do some of that in this film.”

While in Hong Kong, Cumberbatch also said he was looking forward to a possible swim in the city’s famous Victoria Harbour and eating dim sum.

Cumberbatch, 40, who rose to global stardom playing the title role in the BBC’s hit television detective series Sherlock, did most of his own fight scenes in Doctor Strange.

“When I think about the production, a lot of what comes to mind is Benedict being in physical pain and having to perform in situations where he’s sparring or fighting and getting hit and kicked – because that’s what happens when you do your own fight scenes,” director Derrickson said.

Benedict Cumberbatch (left) and Tilda Swinton were in Hong Kong on Thursday to talk about the new Marvel movie.
Photo: K. Y. Cheng/SCMP

Surreal, reality-bending scenes set in international locations, including Nepal and New York were featured in the trailer, which opens here on October 27.

Cumberbatch is the latest of a slew of Hollywood stars to take lead roles in Marvel movies, including Robert Downey Jnr as Iron Man, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, and Chris Evans as Captain America.

Feige said the British actor had always been his first choice to play Stephen Vincent Strange, a neurosurgeon who loses the use of his hands in a car accident.

“We moved the schedule of the movie release around specifically for Benedict which we’ve never done before, but he’s clearly, perfectly Doctor Strange.”

In his quest to repair his injuries, the doctor starts a mystical journey which sees him become a hero sorcerer with superpowers.

Created in the 1960s, the character uses his large trademark red “cloak of levitation” to fly.