When you love something and are truly passionate about it, it shows. That is why I believe that Director Scott Derrickson was meant to direct Doctor Strange. It is because of his love of Doctor Strange and his deep desire to bring it to life that the movie is as good as it is. It is because of those same reasons I enjoyed chatting with him about the film, his vision for it and how he made it all come together.
Here’s some of what Scott Derrickson shared…
- Doctor Strange is his favorite comic so he went after this job really hard. He had 8 meetings to get this job. He said, “I felt like it was the only comic book character I was uniquely suited to do.”
- ’60s comics were the primary influence for the movie and the weird imagery of the movie is rooted in the Steve Ditko artwork from that era.
- He listened to almost nothing but psychedelic rock from that era, while he was working on this screenplay.
- Scott didn’t want to make a throwback movie or a nostalgic movie. 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.”
- His biggest personal motive for making the movie is that he has two boys, who are huge Marvel fans, and he wanted to make a movie that would surprise them but also a movie that would leave an impression on them, of what I think are some of the most important things in life.
- When asked about the special effects
“…it was a long time developing them. It was one of the most creative parts of the whole process, because the idea going into it was to use visual effects for a new reason than what you usually get in big event movies…special effects are usually used to destroy things…because that’s what creates screen stimulus. 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.”
- When it came to casting, they got their first choice on the five lead roles.
- The reason he cast Tilda Swinton was 2 fold, “the first reason was because I was trying to find creative and positive ways to escape the racial stereotypes from the original comics…So the first thing I wanted to do is make it a woman. And I thought, okay, 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. You know, I wanted a woman who wasn’t the 26 year old…I wanted to have a real woman in the movie, in terms of trying to get diversity in there.”
- He went on to share a story about the Ancient One’s character
“…An interesting story about that is that, 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 then 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. 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, as I wrote it.”
- “I love that the movie’s about how pain can dislodge you from what’s bad about your life, and push you into something better. Because he becomes a much better person as, as a result of the worst thing that could happen to him, happening.”
More about Doctor Strange
From Marvel Studios comes “Doctor Strange,” the story of world-famous neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange whose life changes forever after a horrific car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he is forced to look for healing, and hope, in an unlikely place—a mysterious enclave known as Kamar-Taj. He quickly learns that this is not just a center for healing but also the front line of a battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying our reality. Before long Strange—armed with newly acquired magical powers—is forced to choose whether to return to his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.
*Hits theaters Nov. 4th!
*I was invited by Disney and Marvel to attend a press junket covering Doctor Strange. All opinions are my own.