Benedict Cumberbatch Almost Wasn't 'Doctor Strange' For A Very Good Reason
Almost every actor in Hollywood is dying for their chance at a role in a superhero film. However, if you're Benedict Cumberbatch, it seems as if the problem is quite the opposite. The President of Marvel Studios and producer of Doctor Strange, Kevin Feige, had to fight to get Cumberbatch in the highly-anticipated spell-casting film. Crazy, right?! However, Cumberbatch was too busy for Doctor Strange at first, which — OK, that makes a little more sense. With Doctor Strange's "brilliant yet arrogant" character description, it seems as if no one is better for the role than Cumberbatch himself. But the rising star's ever-growing status in films such as Star Trek, The Hobbit, and The Imitation Game meant that a lead Marvel role really didn't seem to fit into his busy schedule.
“He was someone that we were very interested in for a very long time. [But] he kept getting more and more popular! Which is not [essential] for us," Feige says in an exclusive interview with Entertainment Weekly. "Chris Pratt was not popular when we cast him in Guardians [of the Galaxy]. 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, what is a huge movie studio like that to do? Do everything in their power to make sure that they get the actor they want, duh. "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.”
However, having their schedule match up with Cumberbatch's wasn't the only thing that needed to occur for this casting to work. The other factor that comes into casting a film is making sure that the actor wants to be a part of the production just as much as the filmmakers want them to. And, unlike the actors vying for Marvel roles before him, this film wasn't exactly a "dream role" for the Shakespeare-trained actor. "No, it’s not something that I had on my bucket list, as they would say. I have to play Stephen Strange!!!” he spilled to EW. It really seems like the stars had to align and Mercury had to be in retrograde or something for Cumberbatch to end up in this amazing role, which, from the photos that have already been released, he seems to be so well suited for.
So, what's next? Well, it seems that we just have to wait until Doctor Strange is released in theaters nationwide on November 4, 2016 to see if the casting was all worth the hassle. And, personally, I think it's going to be.