While doing press for The Imitation Game, Benedict Cumberbatch recently sat down with the Wall Street Journal and touched upon several topics, including his upcoming role in Marvel’s Doctor Strange.
Is taking on Doctor Strange a risk? What is alluring to you about playing him?
I don’t think it’s a risk because of Marvel. Marvel is a stable of bringing out ordinary comic characters and turning them into screen-like gods. It’s very different, it’s an Astral Plane. There’s a huge new element to this Marvel universe that’s going to be employed in building this story and this character. But you know, I’m really excited about it, about working with Scott [Derrickson] whose imagination is endless, and all the boys and girls at Marvel who know what they’re doing. I’ve got a few things to get under my belt first. I’ve got to do that little stage production of “Hamlet” in the summer and the Christmas special of “Sherlock,” which we start shooting in about three days’ time – Whoops! Yeah, that’s there.
You once taught English to Tibetan Buddhist monks in India. Given Doctor Strange’s story line – he meets the Ancient One, who teaches him the mystic arts – will filming take you back to the Himalayas?
Ahh … you’ll have to wait and see. I’m not going to be eked out on any spoilers or reveals now. It’s quite a way off but I’m very excited about that spiritual dimension, obviously. It’s something that’s been a huge part of my life.
Would you take on some of those mystic arts yourself if you could?
I meditate a lot. That’s a huge tool in trying to calm myself, get away from the crazy circus of it all, have a focused mind as well as be a kinder, considerate person in the world. I took a lot of stuff away from my experience in Darjeeling, West Bengal, right at the Nepali border. It was Tibetan Buddhist monks in a converted Nepali house in India, with a view of Bhutan. It was a profoundly formative experience at a very young age. It’s something I’ve tried to keep in my life. It features already.
Did you read the Doctor Strange comics growing up?
Growing up, no. I didn’t read many comics at all. Asterix a bit. I think that was it. There weren’t many comics in my household — [in a self-mocking voice] “I’m so deprived.” We didn’t have Marvel so much. But you can bet your bottom dollar I’m reading them now, avidly.