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Interview with Benedict Wong (WONG in the Movie)
We had a brilliant chance to meet in person for a sit-down interview with all the leading cast and the Director of the DOCTOR STRANGE movie. Each interview was filled with fascinating facts, new ideas and personal opinions of the movie and the Marvel Universe and work culture. This interview with Benedict Wong was very entertaining and filled with small details about the actor and his career.
The role Benedict Wong plays in DOCTOR STRANGE is WONG, the protector and the curator of all the knowledge stored in the books of The Ancient One. We asked if the actor was under pressure to play an iconic role from MARVEL comics.
Yeah. I used to collect a lot of Marvel Comics. I was always a big sort of Spider Man fan and always collected my go-to Comics like “Amazing Spiderman.” You’d often read and then it would sort of be like a little subheading ‘go see Fantastic Four.’ But I could never afford them.
I would always be at a Comic Book Store which is no longer there out in Manchester. God Bless His Soul, Odyssey Seven, and just be mining through these stories ’til you get sort of chucked out. And I never really knew much about Dr. Strange if I’m honest. When I saw Chiwetel for lunch one time, I asked what he was up to. OK, you’re doing this Dr. Strange. Let’s just have a little tit tat. And then I saw – I saw this picture, it was Dr. Strange.
And then there was a WONG Character. I was like ‘what?’ I just actually literally, I was always so crestfallen that there were no Asian Superheroes. Where are the Super Asians? It’s like why I have to simply get this [ROLE] by birthright, you know, like Ancestors will not let me live this down. And, you know, so you’re always looking like when are they shooting this. Oh, it’s never gonna happen. Then bit by bit, the stars aligned and, yeah, they kindly moved the dates and that’s where it went straight into filming.
They’re [MARVEL] just like honing these Movies, and they want to get them right for the fans.
My character is kind of Drill Sergeant, you know, that is really standing alongside with [Dr.] Strange. They fight in this Multiverse as we sort of introduce this into the Audience.
Q. Is there a line from your script that became more ear work for you from repeating it over and over and it just, I don’t want to say haunted you but has stuck with you?
Well you know, I don’t really know if I can say this one in public. I’ll wrap it up. The funny thing was – I landed [to shoot the movie], and my bags came back up, and we went straight, pretty much straight into filming. So, Benedict’s doing this elaborate spell which probably takes about a minute, and then Chiwetel and I kind of waiting in the wings to come down and obviously chastise him for breaking, you know, space/time continuums.
For some reason, I was just having this dialogue kind of, – I don’t know where you’ve got that huge chunk of taffy or something in your mouth. I couldn’t really get the words out. It was, so he’s doing this Minute spell and then, we come down, and Chiwetel’s like what’s up with the space time continuum. And I was like pup, pup, pup. And I was like OK, let’s go get. Yeah, yup. I think like the jet lag was kind of, as much as he was doing this Minute elaborate spell, I was creating my own black hole, and then we were literally going into double figures.
And it was like I had to be sent home. But the next day, I think, we were all back on track. I think that was the kind of a bit of a wobbler.
I don’t really have favorite lines [in the movie] to be honest. ‘Cause I love all my children. I love all my lines. As long as we’re telling, I’m this cog. I just feel like I’m a cog in a part of these amazing machines. And everyone’s in it as well: and special effects, and the writing teams, and everyone, and the crew. Everyone’s just putting so much energy into this and uh, I’m just there to be a part of that, really. I can’t wait to see it [movie] and just see what we’ve come up with.
Q. you said that this role was meant for you. What was your reaction when you got the role, that moment?
I got the call from Sara Finn, and I called her up and she just said, “Congratulations, you’re gonna have an amazing ride!” And I was like “What?” And obviously you can’t tell anyone. So you’re just at work, dressed as Kubla Khan and you’re not to tell anyone. Oh, I’m gonna be in a Marvel, and I’m beheading someone. I’ll going to be in a Marvel Film.
When someone gives you this secret, and you go, don’t tell anyone. OK, OK. I mean, just there is ball, but it’s kind of, I don’t know, all these sort of things where you just become as a kid, as an 11-year-old, just thinking, “Wow, all of this investment of all my pocket has really paid off in my Adult life.” And it’s like really good, reverb back to you. It’s wonderful, yeah.
Q. If you could have any Superpowers in the world, what would it be in real life?
This place really needs the power of understanding. And I think I’d forego that from flying around and being invisible. Yes, unifying that we’re all one, yeah.
Q. Your most memorable moment on scene, something funny or just seeing yourself.
No just harking back to, as I said before, really when I was in England with Benedict and Chiwetel, it was like, we were just looking at each other. This is great, just having this really sort of unified moment of just working with once again. I personally feel like I’m the one that’s won the competition. And then hey, you get to be in Doctor Strange, and you get to work with these guys. And it’s like oh yeah, and we pay you as well. Oh, right, great. No, it’s fantastic, yeah.
Q. In developing the Character of Wong for yourself, what sort of research did you do? Did you read a lot of the older Dr. Strange, some of the newer stuff, outside influences?
I first picked up the oath so I had a little look at that. And then, it was like certain aspects of that Man Servant to a Tea, kind of sidekick. It took it back into the 60s and leave it there, and for me, as an Actor as well, I’m always looking for a flow, what can we do to promote a positive role model.
And the fact that I feel this kind of stoic strength of Wong that is serious, but he’s very, no doubt he is serious about the severity of what is about to happen and these forces that we do not know.
And obviously with the story of this arrogant Neurosurgeon becoming a broken man, coming to find himself, being humbled that he has a place that is bigger than himself – I’m thrilled to play this role. I think Marvel, Kevin Thelke and the gang are doing a great job to promote that.
Opens November 4, 2016
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