MARVEL’s DOCTOR STRANGE is going to throw many surprises into the faces of its fans and movie-goers. The 3D version of the movie is going to be a wild ride through computer-generated, yet masterfully crafted by a human mind, graphics.
Director Scott Derrickson has gathered into one place, one mindful space, a powerful group of actors and actresses who made this movie an exciting reality. Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton, Mads Mikkelsen, Benedict Wong – these are the stars of today’s movies whose appearance on a big screen makes every movie an event worthy of celebration.
We interviewed them all. With humble gratitude, I am so happy to have met and spoken to them and found some amazing details about each and every one of them. This post is dedicated to Tilda Swinton, who has been on my movie radar for more than ten years, with her movies like: I Am Love, The Invisible Frame, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, A Bigger Splash, The Stars (Are Out Tonight), The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Michael Clayton, Broken Flowers, Constantine, Edward II.
Here are some interesting facts and information, we were able to learn about from our interview with this unique actress.
Tilda Swinton plays The Ancient One in the upcoming DOCTOR STRANGE movie. The makeup, the costumes, the bodily movement in the movie – all had to be customized to the actress. Here’s what she is saying about all that she had been through in preparation for shooting the movie.
Q. The Ancient One character wears an amazing costume in the movie. What was it like to get into it every single day before the shooting and then act in it?
Oh it’s such a great costume! It’s very like pajamas. [AUDIENCE LAUGHTER] Yeah, really, really great. And those beautiful colors… Yeah, really… really wonderful.
Q. Did you have any struggles with this particular role?
The only real struggle was casting spells – learning all these amazing things with fingers [she refers to art of “tutting”], and then remembering what to say at the same time. And then they would say, ‘So you have to put your hands there, not there because the light is going to go [MAKES SOUND] so that kind of masks… but it was all good.
Q. How did you feel about being cast in a role that’s traditionally an Asian man?
You know that in the comic strip it was an Asian man, in fact, a very ancient Tibetan man living on the top of a mountain. The film script that I was given wasn’t an Asian man, so I wasn’t asked to play an Asian man. I was asked to play an ancient Celtic person. If I’d been asked to play an Asian man, I would’ve shown them Benedict Wong. Kevin and Scott [Derrickson] were very, very clear about the reasons they wanted to shake up the stereotype.
They felt that there were couple of kind of gnarly, racial stereotypes around the two big Asian characters in the film, one was Benedict Wong’s character; he was a sort of a servant. And the other was The Ancient One, who was a kind of old, wise Fu Manchu character. Scott [Derrickson] wanted to make it a woman, which thank you, yes, the male overlord falls over.
Which I think was a really, really cool move, to put a woman in the Marvel universe who’s not twenty-one and in a bikini – was a good thing. Although we love the girls in bikinis, but it’s really important, I think, the idea of a Sorceress Supreme being a woman.
When he thought of an Asian woman, he was worried that it would turn into a kind of dragon lady thing. Anyways, they [producers] ended up with me. Thank you very much. It was such fun.
Q. After the audition, what were your feelings upon hearing you had gotten the role?
I was in a very fortunate position of not auditioning at all.
I was in LA working with the Coen Brothers, and I was told that Scott Derrickson wanted to meet me, and I didn’t know why. I’d met him in the past, and I didn’t know why he wanted to meet me particularly.
We had tea, and he told me he was going to do this film, and that he had written this part for me. He basically kind of emotionally blackmailed me and said, “If you don’t do it, I’ll have to rewrite it.”
I was flattered, and honored, and intrigued – and then of course I read it and I felt really good about it. But yeah, I was very lucky. He presented it to me like that. The film that he spoke about at that tea table, I remember, was incredible.
He said, ‘This is going to be a film, a big, tent pole Marvel film about creation, and not about destruction.’ And I thought — now we’ve seen it [FYI: Tilda saw a non-3D version of the movie] – that’s what he’s done!
It’s new. It’s really new. I know that all Marvel superheroes eventually work for good, but there’s a lot of city-flattening that goes on.
But we actually put a city together again. And when he [Scott Derrickson] described that to me, I remember thinking, ‘Oh, wow, I can’t wait to see this film, let alone be in it.’ I was in at that point.
Q. What was the most difficult scene to film, and why?
Oooo… I have to think, because it was all really quite easy. I mean, the fighting is fantastic fun, really good fun – and difficult and interesting in fun ways. But yeah – tough.
You know, lots of looping about, and I set myself the task that The Ancient One would be completely serene through all the fighting. That was something.
I would challenge anybody to do this – do these [loopy] moves without going [MAKES SOUND] like a nine-year-old boy, you know, ‘cause we all do— we’ve all done that when we were little.
What was hard is to fight without making any faces.
Q. Did you do your own stunts?
I did a lot of them, but there was an amazing stunt double who I worked with called ‘Julia’ who became a friend. We all had stunt doubles. We always do, because they do the things that really are dangerous.
Q. How did you feel about being bald in the movie?
Well, it was my decision. It was my suggestion, and we had several months of playing with options, all sorts of weird wig ideas, all sorts of long lobes, and we went around the house [she means asking employees of Marvel Studios] with it.
But eventually, it felt like less was more,and I loved it. I thought it looked really, really ancient, but also kind of modern and rad and, yeah, it was a nice feeling as well.
Q. What was the dynamic of everyone on the set?
We were so happy! It’s a little like – I don’t know about anybody else in Marvel movies, but for me, it was like being asked to join the circus.
We all joined the circus, and we were all given these incredible costumes. Everybody in the Marvel universe that I’ve met so far is so psyched to be a part of it, even though there are some people who have been there for years – technicians or people who have lit all these films for years, or Alex Byrne who does the costumes.
She’d [Alex Byrne] done like seven Marvel films. Nobody’s jaded, everybody’s psyched. It’s a playground!
And the cast – we were all so happy to know each other. We’re so happy to see each other here! Benedict and I were in China just now, but today we’re all meeting our other cast members. We’re so happy.
Q. What are your thoughts after seeing yourself in the film? Like, seeing it all come together?
I was really, really happy. I was so impressed. Maybe it’s weird for all of us. You know, if you see yourself on a home movie, you sort of go – it’s like when someone’s fuzzed out in a police video, and you sort of see everybody else except yourself for a bit.
But with this one, I don’t know whether it’s the way in which it’s in this heightened universe, and everybody looks – we all look like Marvel characters. We don’t really look like ourselves. There’s something very smooth about everything, and that’s to do with the way it’s lit, and the way it’s designed. And it’s cut like a comic strip. It’s quite an experience. It was better than I’d hoped.
Q. Was there any adlibbing on set that made it into the film?
Oh yeah. Scott [Derrickson, the Director] was very clear from the beginning that even though the script was really sound and very good, he wanted us to be free and easy. There’s a lot of nodding and winking that wasn’t scripted.
I do remember, there’s one adlib I made that we laughed so much at. When I throw him [Dr. Strange] out into the Himalayas, and then Everest, and then he has to work his way back. When he came back, I wanted to say, ‘That’ll do, pig.’
That’s my one disappointment about the film – they said they thought that maybe The Ancient One wouldn’t have seen “Babe.” But, I think The Ancient One knows everything. Scott [Derrickson] was very welcoming and wanted us to throw stuff in, and we did.
Q. Was there anything you learned about yourself while making this film?
I loved all the action, and I loved the feeling of being. This is kind of a boring answer, because it’s about the daily work. But there was something about it. We were all very physical while working. We would jump over to a B stage and do some physical stunts, and then we’d come back and do some quite a Zen scene.
I learned – I had a reminder of something I should’ve learned earlier. Which is it’s really important to do the two.
A nice, physical kind of energetic life, alongside some kind of introspection is a really healthy thing.
And I didn’t get sick throughout the shoot. We all always get sick when we’re shooting. But I didn’t get sick, and I think that’s something to do with that. That’s quite a dull answer, but that was true – I did learn that.
I remembered and was reminded of how lazy I am. And how difficult I find learning lines is. I tried something with The Ancient One which was quite tricky. I tried to actually be in a kind of state of mindfulness when I was speaking, which meant that I didn’t really learn my lines very well. That was something I learned.
I don’t think I’ll do that again. That was quite hairy. I just was reminded again, and how good it is to be happy when you work.
Q. How would you describe your character, the Ancient One, in one word?
It’s a noun and not an adjective – it’s PERSPECTIVE. Yeah.
Q. What is NEXT for Tilda Swinton?
I’m going to start a movie in about two week’s time. It’s actually just been pushed for a week. We’re sitting here saying I’m starting it next week, but I’m starting in two week’s time. Another film with my friend Luca Guadagnino, who’s an Italian filmmaker I’ve worked with many times before.
Two films that have been released here, one called “I am Love,” and one called “A Bigger Splash” which was released last year.
And we’re making a new film called “Susperia” next. Yeah. You know Susperia? You saw the original? Scary movie. I am really excited!
Opens November 4, 2016
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