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It’s likely that Doctor Strange director, Scott Derrickson will be known as the director that changed the look of the MCU. The visual effects of Marvel’s Doctor Strange are unlike any we’ve seen before and the film itself is unlike any Marvel film that has preceded it.
Recently, we had the chance to sit down with Derrickson to talk about what inspired the revolutionary look of the film, the controversy surrounding casting, and who he really made the film for.
“This is the greatest panel in the history of panels,” Derrickson said as he walks into a room full of 25 bloggers who have now added themselves to his list of growing fans. “Oh my gosh. This is awesome!”
Immediately, we ask Derrickson about the special effects of the film, as that topic seems to be in the forefront for everyone who has previewed Marvel’s Doctor Strange.
“The visual effects – it was a long time developing them,” Derrickson told us. “But, 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. In big event movies, even in Marvel movies, special effects are usually used to 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.”
What Scott Derrickson has done for Doctor Strange is infuse into the MCU timeline the fantastic art and inspiration of the comic books created by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee.
“The ’60s comics were the primary influence for the movie, for sure,” Derrickson said. “Those early Stan Lee, Steve Ditko comics, which were very much products of the ’60s and the ’60s psychedelia, the weird imagery of the movie is so rooted in the Steve Ditko artwork from that era. I listened to almost nothing but psychedelic rock from that era while I was working on this screenplay. It’s why there’s one Pink Floyd track [in the film] that’s from the first Pink Floyd album, back in their early psychedelic days.”
This execution could have been a dangerous move for a first-time Marvel director and veteran horror film creator, but the box office numbers so far have shown otherwise, and it’s not even opened in the U.S. yet.
Not all of Derrickson’s decisions were initially met with open arms. The Ancient One, in the original comics, was depicted as an asian man, so when actress Tilda Swinton was cast for the role, many had their doubts.
Click below to hear director Scott Derrickson talk about why Tilda Swinton was cast as The Ancient One in Marvel’s Doctor Strange!
Swinton wasn’t his only first choice as far as casting went. Derrickson said that although it happens very rarely in Hollywood, the five lead roles were easily cast with their first choice for each role accepting. For much of that, he attributes to star Benedict Cumberbatch, describing him as “a kind of an actor magnet.”
“Other actors want to work with him, so there was that,” Derrickson said. “But then when I would meet with them and explain the movie, they got excited, I think, at what it was that we were trying to do. I remember Tilda got excited because she understood, I was really trying — I wasn’t making an experimental movie. She doesn’t care about how big a movie is. She could care less. She cares how interesting it is,” Derrickson said about casting Swinton.
Swinton’s role is a powerful one, with lines that are as educational as they are compelling. They provide a message for young and old, but Derrickson had two specific fans in mind – two fans that motivated him to make the film.
“My biggest personal motive for making the movie,” Derrickson told us, “is that I have two boys who are 13 and 10. They’re Marvel fans, huge Marvel fans, you know? And I 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. And, and that’s where a lot of that came from, you know?”
Click below to hear how director Scott Derrickson fought for the film and the chance to direct Marvel’s Doctor Strange!
“Strange is a character… he’s a materialist, he’s self-centered, he’s bad at relationships. He’s ego-driven,” Derrickson explained about Doctor Stephen Strange. “And, then, he loses everything, and through this trauma, through this gauntlet of pain and suffering, he transforms into something better. I love that the movie’s about that. 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 a result of the worst thing that could happen to him, happening. As a result, he goes from this selfish, skeptical, materialistic guy, to this unselfish, altruistic, mystic of the master arts who wants to now save people for better reasons than he did in the past.”
Many who have seen Marvel’s Doctor Strange in early screenings have coined the film as a game-changer for MCU going forward, so we asked Scott Derrickson if that was his intention, or if he felt that way about his approach when he began the journey.
“I don’t know how it will affect the MCU, because that’s Kevin Feige’s – he’s the auteur of the MCU in terms of steering the ship,” Derrickson said.
Click below to hear Scott Derrickson talk about his approach to Marvel’s Doctor Strange!
See director Scott Derrickson’s vision come to life on the big screen when Marvel’s Doctor Strange opens in theaters Friday!