Little is known about Rachel McAdams' mysterious role in the upcoming Marvel Studios film, Doctor Strange, not even her character's name.
McAdams isn't spilling any details about the film's plot or her character's role but she did finally open up about why she joined the project, in the first place.
“I mean, I just love the director,” McAdams told MTV. “I met with Scott [Derrickson] and loved his vision, he was so passionate. And the opportunity to work with Benedict was kind of a no-brainer. And Marvel makes amazing films, so it was a complete package.”
It doesn't hurt that the film will be extremely unique. “It’s definitely not going to be like any of the other films,” McAdams added.
EW can exclusively reveal the role Hannibal star Mads Mikkelsen is portraying in Marvel’s new superhero movie, Doctor Strange (out Nov. 4), which stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular surgeon-turned-sorcerer.
And the part is that of (cue: drum roll) chief baddie!
“Mads is playing our main villain,” says executive producer Stephen Broussard.
Marvel Studios president and Doctor Strange producer Kevin Feige elaborates further. “We will take audiences through sort of a guide to the multiverse, other dimensions, and there are amazing things out there — wonders that are going to be hopefully visually extremely interesting and unique to this movie,” he says. “But there are also very scary things in these other dimensions.” According to Feige, is the job of sorcerers like Strange and The Ancient One, played by Tilda Swinton, to protect humanity from such “scary things.”
So, where does Mikkelsen’s antagonist fit in, exactly? “Mads’ character is a sorcerer who breaks off into his own sect,” says the Marvel Studios boss. “[He] believes that the Ancient One is just protecting her own power base and that the world may be better off if we were to allow some of these other things through.”
Although Broussard and Feige are happy to talk about the nature of Mikkelsen’s role, they are not, at present, revealing the actual name of his character. “I’ve seen lots of names thrown around,” says Broussard. “No one has quite picked the name that we’ve chosen for him. It would be fun to conceal that, if we can.”
We know that Benedict Cumberbatch plays the titular surgeon-turned-sorcerer in Marvel’s new superhero movie Doctor Strange (out Nov. 4). We also know that Tilda Swinton portrays a mystic called the Ancient One, that Chiwetel Ejiofor is an associate of the Ancient One called Karl Mordo, and — as EW exclusively revealed — that Mads Mikkelsen has been cast as the movie’s main baddie.
But who is Rachel McAdams playing? That’s a question which has occupied a lot of comic fans ever since it was announced that the star of The Notebook and Spotlight had been cast in the film, and is one we can now answer. Well, sort of.
As is the case with Mikkelsen’s character, the Marvel producers are not releasing the name of the person portrayed by McAdams. But they are happy to give up a little information about the nature of the role.
“Rachel McAdams plays a fellow surgeon that has a history with Strange and is his sort of lynchpin to his old life, once he steps into he role of a sorcerer,” says Kevin Feige, the producer of Doctor Strange and president of Marvel Studios. “She is someone he connects with at the beginning, and reconnects with, and helps anchor his humanity.”
“Rachel McAdams is sort of [Doctor Strange’s] contemporary in the modern-day New York world, before and after he goes on this crazy journey,” elaborates Doctor Strange executive producer Stephen Broussard. “So, she sees him before, she sees him after. She’s kind of this audience point of view.”
Might McAdams’ character also be a love interest for Strange? Let’s see what Cumberbatch has to say on the matter. “I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say what the interest is,” says the actor. “But if I hit on her more than the Ancient One, put it like that.”
The Marvel character Doctor Strange was created in 1963 by artist Steve Ditko and writer-editor Stan Lee and the duo’s surgeon-turned-sorcerer rapidly established himself as a favorite of comics readers, in large part thanks to Ditko’s retina-blasting, psychedelic imagery. More than half a century on, those graphics are very much informing Marvel Studios’ Benedict Cumberbatch-starring Doctor Strange, which arrives in cinemas on Nov. 4.
“I was always interested in the extreme mind-bending visuals of the comics,” says the film’s director, Scott Derrickson. “I had very ambitious for the visuals, which were rooted in the comics, that movies haven’t done yet. And a lot of that goes back to the Ditko artwork and all that ’60s craziness you see in the comics.”
“When this comic appeared in the early ’60s, it really informed, in a way that is pretty amazing, a lot of the psychedelic ’60s as we know it,” says Doctor Strange producer, and Marvel Studios president, Kevin Feige. “Stan Lee and, in particular, Steve Ditko, had an amazing psychedelic style. I don’t know that they were doing anything weird in the bullpen in Marvel, but certainly the stuff they were doing inspired all those people who were doing mind-expansion experiments at the time. So, that’s inherent to the property. And that’s our mission statement for the visual effects on this movie.”
The Marvel team is tight-lipped about the precise nature of the film’s effects. But Feige does give a taste of what audiences can expect by describing a sequence which takes place when Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange is introduced to Tilda Swinton’s mysterious mystic, the Ancient One, and finds Strange being introduced to the array of alternative dimensions which make up Marvel’s ‘multiverse.’
“[The] sequence culminates in what we, behind-the-scenes, refer to as the ‘Magical Mystery Tour,’ which literally takes him in a shocking and very fast way through the multiverse,” says the Marvel Studios boss. “The images can be just as trippy — for lack of a better term — as those Ditko images were in the past. So, that, we hope, is going to set this movie apart from any of the other movies. And, from any other movie.”
In summation? Expect the unexpected — or, at least, the very strange. “There’s going to be crazy s–t going on,” concludes Cumberbatch.
Prior to Benedict Cumberbatch’s casting in the lead role of Doctor Strange (out Nov. 4), several other actors were rumored to be in the frame for the part, including Joaquin Phoenix, Ethan Hawke, Matthew McConaughey, Ewan McGregor, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Oscar Isaac. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige admits the company did consider alternative casting options for the film’s titular surgeon-turned-sorcerer, but not because he had any doubts about Cumberbatch’s thespian abilities.
“He was someone that we were very interested in for a very long time,” says Feige, talking on the London set of Doctor Strange. “[But] he kept getting more and more popular! [Laughs] Which is not [essential] for us. Chris Pratt was not popular when we cast him in Guardians. That’s not a prerequisite needed for us casting [someone]. But he kept getting more popular, and more popular, and he kept getting busier, and busier, and it looked like the timing wasn’t going to work.” So we looked at some other actors for a while and ultimately decided, ‘We have to try and make it work with Benedict and with his schedule.’ Which is why we shifted the production schedule around. He finished Hamlet here in London, and I think had a day off, and then went to Kathmandu, Nepal, to shoot the first day of Doctor Strange.”
Everyone knows Ant-Man can control ants, Iron Man has a flying weapon-suit, and the Hulk is the man to call if you want something smashed. But what powers are possessed by the titular hero of Marvel’s new superhero movie Doctor Strange (out Nov. 4)? In the comic books, this New York-based surgeon-turned sorcerer has a large array of magical assets up his proverbial sleeve and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige says the same is true of Benedict Cumberbatch’s hero in director Scott Derrickson’s big screen origin story.
“He can do a whole host of things, eventually,” explains Feige, who is also the producer of Doctor Strange. “He does cast spells, which in the comics have very sort of tongue-twisty fun names. We don’t want to shy away from that, because that’s what makes Doctor Strange Doctor Strange. He has a Cloak of Levitation that allows him to fly, but he doesn’t fly like Superman or like Thor. It’s almost got a consciousness of its own, this cloak, which, again, gives us a superhero with a red cape — which we’ve seen a few times — but allows us to do it in a wholly unique and wholly original way. He can create these mandalas of light that he can use as shields and he can use as sort of weapons. He can create portalas that will open before your eyes that he can step through and go to other places around the world. And frankly, even in this film, we’ll only touch upon what a lot of his powers are.”
Strange is also helped by an amulet known as The Eye of Agamotto. “The Cloak of Levitation [and] the Eye of Agamotto are his two signature pieces,” says Feige. “In this film, the Eye is a very important relic that can be quite dangerous if used in the wrong hands, because it has the ability to do any number of things, the most dangerous of which is, it can sort of manipulate probabilities. Which is also another way of saying, ‘screw around with time’ — which is part of our story.”
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