To be, or not to be a Marvel superhero?
We’re barely a month away from seeing Benedict Cumberbatch make his Marvel movie debut in the title role of ‘Doctor Strange’ – but it very nearly didn’t happen.
In the cover story of the latest issue of Empire, Cumberbatch and his director Scott Derrickson explain that the actor came close to missing out on the role due to a prior commitment in the theatre.
Cumberbatch had signed on to play the lead in ‘Hamlet’ at London’s Barbican Theatre in the autumn of 2015, which would have clashed with production on the Marvel movie, initially lined up for a summer 2016 release.
According to Derrickson (whose previous credits include ‘Sinister’ and ‘Deliver Us from Evil’), Cumberbatch was “the only actor we seriously considered,” but “It just wasn’t possible… To his credit he said, ‘I can’t bail out of Hamlet. I’ve given my word.’”
As a result, Derrickson met with various actors who were rumoured to be in contention for the role at the time, among them Joaquin Phoenix, Ryan Gosling and Jared Leto.
However, both the director and Marvel boss Kevin Feige agreed that Cumberbatch was the only choice – hence the film was rescheduled to an autumn release date.
Cumberbatch explains, “I really did think I had to kiss it goodbye… If you can’t jump on board when the ride’s going past, that’s usually it.
“So the hugest compliment they paid me was to come back to me. It motivated me to try to fulfil their faith in me.”
We’ve no doubt Marvel’s faith will prove well-founded – but we can all see for ourselves when ‘Doctor Strange’ opens in UK cinemas on 25 October.
Picture Credit: Marvel, Empire