• Film

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” Premiere

All stars were on deck May 2 in Hollywood for the much-awaited premiere of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the latest offering from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and sequel to the blockbuster, Doctor Strange, in 2016, which grossed over $677 M worldwide.

Doctor Stephen Strange’s movie litany other than the eponymously titled film six years ago includes such films as Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and most recently Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Four-time Golden Globe-nominated actor Benedict Cumberbatch, (most recently for this year’s The Power of the Dog) elegantly dressed in a light grey suit, took to the red carpet to greet fans. Although he’s played the character many times, evidently his enthusiasm hasn’t waned.

He told the reporters, “This is a very rich and complex character and then when he comes up against other versions of himself, it just gets even more interesting. And as an actor, the challenge is to make him seem the same but different and have fun with it. I can’t wait to see how the audiences respond to what we’ve done.”

Other cast members include Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, Rachel McAdams as Dr. Christine Palmer, Julian Hilliard and Jett Klyne as Billy and Tommy Maximoff, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Karl Mordo, Benedict Wong as Wong, and newcomer Xochitl Gomez plays America Chavez. 



The last time we saw Doctor Strange was in Spider-Man when he cast a spell that severely misfired. How is the great doctor feeling after the mayhem? He chuckles, “Well, a little forgetful, and I think ready to not screw things up again. So hopefully he doesn’t.”

In the Multiverse film, Strange teams up with another teenager, (following his stint in Spider-Man) America Chavez. Cumberbatch says, “It’s interesting. Despite her youth, the pupil-teacher dynamic flips around a lot in this film. And basically, I think it starts from a position of equal distrust and then evolves into something whereby they work very well together.”

Unsurprisingly, Cumberbatch admits he feels he has a proprietary interest in Doctor Strange. “I feel like I’m a guardian of this character, so the integrity sort of rests with me. I fought for a lot of the stuff you’ll see in the picture and some that you won’t.”

Now that Sam Raimi has jumped in as director, Cumberbatch says, “I was going to try to describe him as a complete and utter asshole, but he’s not!” He laughs. “He’s probably one of the nicest human beings I’ve ever had the good fortune to work with, and for somebody who has that much of iconic status, both with horror and in superhero movies, he wears it very, very lightly.”

Raimi, who was also present on the red carpet said, “I really enjoyed the Marvel movies that I’d seen. They were all made with great quality. I’d heard the director had fallen out of Multiverse of Madness [Scott Derrickson, who directed the 2016 film] and so [producer] Kevin (Feige) called. I met the team who seemed really great, very intelligent. And they regard, the integrity of the character as their primary job. So, working for a team like that, a director can’t go wrong.”

Newcomer Gomez says of walking into such an established family of actors on set, “Lizzie [Elizabeth Olsen] gave me great advice. She told me to never be shy from giving any notes or any tips or just giving my opinion on things,” she says. “And that Marvel means it when they want my input. And I’m not going to lie, I did take that advice. I’m happy I did.”

Now a Marvel veteran, Olsen, who has played Wanda/Scarlet Witch since the 2016 film, Captain America: Civil War, as well as Avengers: Infinity War, and of course, the miniseries WandaVision, says of her evolution as the Scarlet Witch, “It’s pretty amazing. And we brought it in, in the most epic way possible that she is this mythic woman, this ancient woman that she’s always been destined to be. And we’re finally embracing that in Doctor Strange.”

Before rushing inside the theater before the premiere begins, Cumberbatch talks about the popularity of the franchise. “I think Strange came from an ordinary place, as brilliant as he was as a neurosurgeon, he was somebody you could recognize in our world. He wasn’t born with a superpower. He had to discover it. And I think that’s inspiring as well: to think that there are possibilities in all of us that remain there to be found and tapped into and developed and enjoyed,” he says. 

“I think the humor and the pathos that’s brought when these characters have painful chapters in their character arcs and their stories is even more deeply felt.”