**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.**
We had the opportunity while in LA to sit down with the amazing director of Doctor Strange, Scott Derrickson. He is the writer and director known for past works including Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose to name a few. Now he is taking on the role of director in one of the most anticipated Marvel movies, Doctor Strange. He had a certain vision for this movie and his vision does most certainly come to life. Doctor Strange is out this Friday. Be sure you head to theaters so you can see his masterpiece!
INTERVIEW WITH SCOTT DERRICKSON
We started off the interview telling him it was perhaps one the most greatest, visually appeasing, special effects movie of all time. He was honored to hear that, after all the hard work he put into this film.
Question 1: Speaking of special effects, can you tell us just how much work went into that?
He told us a lot went into the visual effects. It took a long time to develop them but it was also one of the most creative parts of the whole process. The idea was to use the special effects for a new reason that you get in the big Marvel movies, which is to typically destroy things.
“It’s about destroying cities because that’s what creates screen stimulus. And I just felt committed to the idea of using those big expensive visual effects for something else, something new, something more interesting, and specifically, something trippy, and weird. And to give the audience an unexpected experience. “
Question 2: A lot of the visual effects and the music have, is from the ’60s, from the original comic. Is there any time that you guys thought about trying to update that, something for the modern audience? Or was there always this kind of throwback to the ’60s, the nod, and that trippy LSD type thing going on?
He told us that the 60s were the primary influence for the movie. Those early Stan Lee, Steve Ditko comics which were very much products of the 60s and the 60s psychedelia, the weirdest imagery of the movie which is so rooted in the Ditko artwork from that era. He told us he listened to nothing but the psychedelic rock while working on the screenplay. If you listen in the movie, you will note one Pink Floyd track from the first album.
“What I wanted to do was to make a throwback movie, or a nostalgic movie. I didn’t want to try to go back and recapture the ’60s revolution feel, but I wanted to have that same mindset of open your mind, expand your mind, see things new. A new look and a new aesthetic which explores possibilities. And so that was the goal, was to take that ’60s mentality, and then bring it into a modern superhero movie, and do it with a character who was about something hopefully meaningful.”
Question 3: In talking to Tilda, she said to ask you about your choice in choosing a woman for the Ancient one?
He told us that choice was twofold. The first reason was him trying to find ways, creative and positive ways, to escape the racial stereotypes from the original comics. They were the products of the 60s for the comics, for the good and bad. For the bad, the Ancient One, and Wong, those two characters were pretty offensive racial stereotypes, by modern standards. He told us Wong’s character, he was able to completely reinvent.
“I sort of inverted his character. Everything about his character in the comics, I just flipped on its head. Instead of a man servant, he’s a master of the mystic arts. Instead of a sidekick, he’s Strange’s intellectual mentor. So that was great. With the Ancient One, I couldn’t really do that. The Ancient One, for the story, origin story to work, still had to be a magical, mystical, domineering, martial arts mentor, to Doctor Strange.”
“So the first thing I wanted to do is make the character a woman. And I thought, that’s fresh. And I did that to get away from the cliché and the stereotype, but I also did that because I wanted a woman Tilda’s age. I wanted a woman who wasn’t the 26 year old, tightly leather clad, hot, fan boy dream girl. I wanted to have a real woman in the movie, in terms of trying to get diversity in there. I thought about casting an Asian woman. We had lots of discussion about that. But I couldn’t get away from the stereotype of the Dragon Lady. If you know anything about American cinema, and the portrayal of the Dragon Lady, you know, the anime movies and all that, I felt like a trap. So then I started thinking, well who could bring the ethereal, enigmatic, mystical qualities of the Ancient One, from the comics, that are good? And I was like, Tilda.”
“I was trying to write the role, and it was the one role in the movie that was flat, it was just a flat role. It just, every version I did of it was just not great. It was not working. And when I came up with the idea in my head about Tilda doing it, suddenly the role came to life, and I wrote it, without her knowing anything about the movie, or knowing that I was interested in her doing it. I wrote it for her, and it was great. And I remember bringing the script to Kevin, and handing it to him, saying, okay, this role is great now, but it has to be Tilda Swinton that plays it. And if it’s not her, we’re going to have to rewrite it again.Because I didn’t feel like anybody but her could do the role as I wrote it.”
Question 4: Other than Tilda, were there other actors that you wrote the role for?
He told us the five lead roles they were lucky enough to get their first choice for, which is rare. It usually does not happen because of availability but in this case, it all worked out with their first choices.
“ When I met with the cast and explained the movie, they got excited. Like Tilda, I remember Tilda got excited because she understood, I wasn’t making an experimental movie. I was making something that she was excited for. She could care less about how big a movie is but she found this very interesting.”
Question 5: As a mom of young Marvel fans, what was your thoughts behind the powerful messages in the film?
He told us his biggest personal motive for making the movie is because he has two boys, 13 and 10. The youngest was 8 when he started with Doctor Strange. Both boys are huge Marvel fans and he wanted to make a movie that would surprise them as well as leave an impression on them.
Question 6: How did writing and directing Marvel’s Doctor Strange, how did that all happen?
He told us he went after the job really hard. He had eight meetings to get the job. It is a very thorough process they go through in hiring their directors. He is a HUGE marvel fan and Doctor Strange is his favorite. When he heard they were making it, he felt it was the only comic book character he was uniquely suited to do.
“ And then when I went in for the first meeting, I had my own opinion about what a Doctor Strange movie should be, and I felt very strongly about it. And when I went in for the first meeting, I was amazed at how in line my thinking about the comic was with theirs. And that was the point where it almost, like a switch, flipped in my brain, and I just said, I’m getting this job, and I’m going to outwork everyone on the presentation. I wrote the astral fight that they have in the hospital. I wrote that 12 page scene, before my second meeting.” (When you see it Friday, you will all be amazed by this scene!!)
“Then I illustrated it, and I spent a lot of money on the visual, concept art, and then I went in with a full vision, and just said, here’s what a Doctor Strange movie should be, and they were in alignment with it. I just loved it. I love that comic so much. And the movie is so true to the comics. You know, it so obviously feels the way the comics feel, and is true to that origin story.”
Question 7: Is that your favorite scene in the movie? What was your favorite scene?
His favorite scene was the astral fight scene. With this movie, the audiences are paying to see the spectacle. They pay to see these big visual effects, overwhelming scenes, and action, and fighting, and all of that. But whether or not they like a movie is whether or not it moves them. And whether they like the character, and whether it moves them.
We then asked him what are the core values of this movie. I don’t want to spoil too much so I will save it for you to see for yourself. I think you will all be able to answer this once you see the movie.
Question 8: The consensus of many fans is that this is a huge game changer for the Marvel cinematic universe. Did you have that feeling when you kind of went into this project, and how did you see this affecting the MCU, going forward?
“ I don’t know how it will affect the MCU, because that’s Kevin Feige, he’s the auteur of the MCU, he’s the captain of the ship, steering the ship. You know, where it’s going to go. I’m friends with the Russos. I know what the stories of Infinity War, are going to be, so I have some sense of it. But when I made this and going in to get the job, I approached it as a fan. I mean, I’m a fan, first. I’m a comic book fan first, on this movie, and I’m a movie fan, before I’m a filmmaker.”
“I just know the way I felt about superhero movies, which was, this is a golden era of comic book cinema, it’s the most significant populist cinema in the world, but it’s reached a saturation point, of the kinds of movies that we’ve seen, and we’ve got to do something new and fresh. It’s got to evolve, or it’s going to decline. And, when I saw Guardians of the Galaxy, I was like, ah, touchdown, you know? I was so elated, that was my favorite movie of that year, because it was so unexpectedly fresh and new, and it was so weirdly, uniquely, James Gunn, that it took me about half an hour to get used to the sense of humor. Like, when you first watch that movie, it’s not funny at first, it’s just weird.”
“And then when you sort of realize how funny it is, it gets funnier and funnier, and every time you see it, it becomes funnier, still. So, as a fan, going into Doctor Strange, I wanted to make the kind of comic book movie I wanted to see, which was a hard left turn. It was a bold and fearless leap into the surreal, with some substantial meaning. Some depth of ideas, and still fun, still Marvel, still a Marvel character. With a little more originality and ambition than what we’ve been seeing, lately. Because that’s what I wanted as a fan, that’s what everybody wants. If I hit that target, then I assume and I have to believe it’ll satisfy other people as well.
See Scott Derrickson’s Masterpiece, Doctor
Strange, in theaters THIS FRIDAY!