**I received an all expense paid trip thanks to Disney. All my opinions are my own and not swayed by outside sources. Photo credit given to Disney and Dusty from As Mom Sees It.
It is not everyday you get to interview the one and only Sherlock Holmes, Benedict Cumberbatch. Along with Benedict’s Sherlock role, he has also been seen in movies such as Zoolander 2, The Imitation Game, and Star Trek Into Darkness to name a few. Now Benedict Cumberbatch is back taking on the lead role in the brand new Marvel film Dr. Strange hitting theaters on Friday, November 4th! He will play the lead role, playing none other than Doctor Strange. If you are unfamiliar with the comic books, Doctor Strange is a former neurosurgeon who will embark on a journey of self healing through a magical and mystical world. This is his first role in the Marvel universe and he could not be more excited!
Meeting Benedict Cumberbatch was awe inspiring. When he walked in the room, we all clapped for this amazing actor. He was so gracious in answering our questions and the interview went so quickly, leave us wanting more time with him! It was a day I will always remember. Since this is such an iconic role, I thought I would highlight below some of the interview with him. I hope you enjoy learning about him as much as I did that day!
INTERVIEW WITH BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH:
We started out telling him that we saw the movie the prior night and telling him how much we loved it. He had not seen it yet (at the interview date) so it was exciting to give him our opinions on the film.
1. How was it working on a set that you didn’t have everything on?
He told us that a set is really a huge mixture of things. Some days you have cameras that do 360 frames and other times you are in one single room. He told us at times it can get confusing to get the space right when you act , but it all comes together and really comes down to story boarding.
“And so you know exactly where you are, exactly what elements or environments are going to be moving around you, and then it’s the same old game of acting. You just turn up to eleven. Everything we do as actors is imaginary circumstances. It’s a form of artifice and smoke and mirrors.Even if I would walk into this room with a hidden camera, you know at some point you understand that you’re walking in, in a character you may be keeping and in order for somebody somewhere to see it. So there’s always in the back of your head the idea that you are being watched.”
He told us you have to sort of make believe to play the character. He told us there were more days where it was childish belief and other days where there was a ton of props and stuff. The hardest part was doing the movements and anything he did with using his power or the weapons. Sometimes he told us it is just magic stuff out of the air to fight with. Sometimes there are props and other things they animate in the movie.
2. What was it like and how long did it take to get into costume, out of costume? And what did you feel the first time you saw yourself with everything?
“Well I felt like a kid. I mean it was just amazing. It was the first proper moment when I thought, oh my God, I’m actually playing a superhero. There’s nothing like it and I was very giddy. I was really, really giddy. I mean we’d been trying little bits of the costume on for about a month. A lot of what we might have even had some tests as well. But, a lot of the civilian stuff at the beginning, and this was a deterioration of that and his journey.
And then the day when the cloak runs on. I just remember. I just remember smiling. You can’t contain yourself. I never had this on my bucket list. I never wanted as an actor thinking one day I’ll be a superhero. Or I’d like to try that. As a kid I really enjoyed superheroes- and as an audience member of Marvel’s cinematic universe, I just enjoyed being a part of watching it. I never thought, I fancy to get at that.”
“Great, great fun. And then the other moment that was a really pinch yourself superhero moment I guess was running down Fifth Avenue with the silhouette of the Empire State Building at one end. That’s the building that people crafted storyboards and built these comics on paper at the very beginning of all of this. And I’m running along in red and blue, jumping, pretending to take off on Fifth Avenue. It was amazing.”
3. How long did it take to get into costume?
He told us Nick ,his costume guy, was brilliant. He needed to really get clamped into the cloak which took about a half an hour with the boots being the longest part of the whole thing. The boots had real laces which took a good chunk of time. The fastest they ever put the costume on was around 20 minutes.
4. I was gonna ask about the article of you wearing your costume into a café in Manhattan. Can you tell us about that?
” It was brilliant. The first day we’d all been out all together on the set and it was madness. There were more paparazzi than there were crew. I feel protective of the film and also just sort of downtime with friends, I don’t really wanna just all the time be photographed. It’s really distracting when you’re working and also when you wanna just clock off for a second. So I said let’s just go somewhere. Shall we just go somewhere? And they went, you’re in costume, you’ve got makeup on. I went, yeah, but it’s New York and sure enough that’s exactly what happened. Sophie went and I used to work around the corner, this little café. I can’t believe we’re here. Shall we try that one? I was like yeah. And I expected to walk in and get the kinda like, hey Sophie! Kinda like a family welcome. So we went in there and it was like, hey guys, and there wasn’t that reaction.”
“But there was this New York moment which was just out of Ghostbusters, you know, when Rick Moranis is banging on the window going, please help me! Help me! And the dogs are chasing him. And they all turn around and say look at him. And then he goes and they all go. Anyway, as I was saying, just everything goes back to normal in like five minutes in New York. So it really was that. I ordered an Arnold Palmer, I sat down, got a little bit hot. My makeup artist wasn’t thrilled. He was like, I am gonna have to do your beard again. And that was it.”
He told us it was very drawn out. He said it started with a conversation with a LA Times Journalist and he was sitting on the roof of Bad Robot when they were doing Star Trek press. He told Benedict that he would make a great Doctor Strange. He told us he went who but he was intrigued. He read a bit of the comic and then began to see it. He told us it is about cultism and the whole east meets west mysticism set in the 60s.
” And it’s got all those sort of psychedelic elements. And then Kevin and Steve called and I went into, for Marvel and we had a proper grown up discussion about it. And I was like, oh, okay, this could be really interesting. And my slow brain woke up to the fact that in the 21st Century you can make magic look pretty cool on the big screen. But most importantly was when I sat down with Scott and I gave him a few of my concerns about the character, how sort of arrogant he was. I thought I play other elements of that in other characters as you probably know, I wanna just round the edges a little bit. Make him more human, understand what makes him who he becomes. And so he talked to me. He pitched the origin story and the humor was gonna be really important to him. That the bewilderment maybe of a 21st century audience is the drive, if you go on his ride with him you experience like a little bit of the experiences.”
“Comic effects, wonder, the need is in the story. But, he just won me over and I really like Scott as a person as well. And I have to admit, I’ve never seen one of his films all the way through because I’m terrible at watching horror films. I can’t do it. It affects my imagination in a really bad way. But I have seen, a lot of his previous work. And the combination was intoxicating and I was just won over. Then they said, we wanna film it now. At this particular point. I went I can’t. I can’t. I’m doing Hamlet. I was committed to a theater, and director, and producer and, designer and, you know, people in the cast were something to be talked about. It went away for a bit and I was heartbroken. And then they came out and said we can’t not make this film with you. We really need it to be you. In the first time in Marvel’s history, they postponed the schedule of the making and the release of the film. Which was amazing. I had a huge amount of responsibility to live up to their faith in me, but that was a great motivation.That was sort of the audition process. It was very flattering but it wasn’t an audition as such. They already had it in mind.”
6. You had a pretty dramatic scene obviously in the beginning of the film where you have your car accident. And I know that you haven’t watched the film yet, but I’m sure you probably saw things on set. What is that like for you? Seeing yourself in such a dramatic stage, you know? Hold up in a hospital bed and your hands just…?
He said it was hard.
“There’s a thing called homunculus man, I mean especially relevant to this character. To a man who is materialistic and egotistical but still a charming and very adept neurosurgeon. A self-made man, who’s, through his education, become the top of his profession. Maybe abusing that position for the sake of his own betterment and not his patients. But still, he loses everything because of what happens to his hands. And homunculus hands. Homunculus hands.”
“Well they are homunculus hands, and a homunculus man sketch. And basically it’s to a scale drawing. It’s not far off some of these pop characters. Because it basically amplifies everywhere in your body that you feel sensation. So it is like a weird cartoon. And if you notice, it obviously has the eyes, the mouth and ears, the sensory organs as you’d expect. But the hands are huge. And to have those gone. I imagined, from people I spoke to and rehearsing, it is like losing a sense. But especially from a man whose entire wealth lifestyle habits, whether it’s piano, pouring a glass, or driving a fast car, or texting or performing neurosurgery is based on his skill with his hands. It’s also an incredibly traumatic deal. So that was really important that that had an edge to it. And I mean again, I haven’t seen it so I don’t know how far that story line’s carried through. I wanted him to have a full on meltdown with that.”
7. What was the weirdest scene?
He said it was the weirdest with the accident scene. In the middle of the scene, he told us he then went back in a tuxedo, upside down, in a tank of water, with men who’d been waiting there since something like twelve in the afternoon . These men were there all day since 3 in the morning and had a lot of work to do on this scene. He told us it was a very hard scene to film with it being gut-wrenching and tragic as well.
8. What is the wildest thing you’d love to see your character do in future films?
“Oh goodness. the sky’s the limit. I mean this guy defends our reality against other dimensions. So it’s pretty hard to stop at one thing. And obviously I know it might be a bit of a leering question is to see who I’d like to work with in the Avengers movie.But the truth is all of them. I mean I know a little bit about who I will be working with. I’m very excited about that. It’s very cool. It’s hard to say without then giving stuff away though. Or them being really disappointed.”
9. Did you have to go through special classes? How did you prepare? Did you have to go through training and actually go through repetition of certain things?
He said yes he did train for the movie and their was specifics for the spell casting. He told us about a fantastic guy named Julian who was a world class tutter, which is all about hand movement, very specific to the fingers.
“I mean Julian does it with the whole of his upper body, but it is phenomenal. And he is a very good pianist as you can. I mean some of it you can go, that would work well on the keyboard. But it’s these stunning geometric, or abstract shapes he creates with his hands. Such as a rabbit silhouette but then all the rest of it was sort of evolved with everything from Tai Chi to Kung Fu, to the fight style. So the cutter, the dance thing where we’re going through the routine, that then evolves into his fighting style. The cat kicks and whatever else I was doing – and it was awhile ago now.”
” The biggest thing I do and sort of accomplished was the gymnastics. The aerial gymnastics for the wild work I did in the stunt scenes or the flying or being catapulted backwards through endless glass cabinets. That kind of things. It was touch. I won’t lie. But it was really enjoyable. I mean you have the best people. Whether it’s someone helping you with the dart. And I was training every day, or every other day, just to get my body in shape and to be fit enough to do it.”
“Then yoga to make sure the body was supple enough. Then doing martial arts. Then doing stunt choreography for specific fi- fight scenes. And then doing wild work and other sort of specific sort of stunt, stand alone moments like the moments where the room’s ticking, or the hole becomes something or the floor becomes the wall, and the end of the corridor becomes the ceiling. All that stuff was unwise. That was me doing it and it was great fun.”
See Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange next Friday, November 4th!