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Doctor Strange will be ‘Marvel’s Fantasia,’ says film’s director of photography

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The second phase of Marvel Studios’ cinematic universe recently concluded with the premiere of Ant-Man, and next year the story continues with Captain America: Civil War in May and Doctor Strange in November. The latter film represents yet another new direction for the Marvel movie-verse, with the film expected to explore the occult side of the studio’s superhero realm in the same way that Guardians of the Galaxy expanded Marvel’s cosmic landscape.

During a recent speaking event in London, the director of photography on Doctor Strange offered some hints regarding the weird, mysterious direction the film is going to take within Marvel’s rapidly evolving cinematic universe.

“It has a very psychedelic grounding, and it’s not your typical Marvel action movie,” Ben Davis said of Doctor Strange during a BAFTA Masterclass held August 4 (as reported by Screen Daily). “Most of the work within it is about other dimensions. And I described it, I think, when I was talking to Marvel as ‘Marvel’s Fantasia,’ in a way, because it’s so sort of out there and different to everything else that they’ve done.”

Along with comparing Doctor Strange to the iconic 1940 animated Disney feature that showcased a collection of eclectic animated shorts set to classical music, Davis — who also served as director of photography on Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron — indicated that the film will be “out there” and described it as “a very dark movie.”

Of course, the suggestion that Doctor Strange will be darker than previous installments of Marvel’s movies likely comes as no surprise, what with Sinister and Deliver Us From Evil filmmaker Scott Derrickson directing the film. With production expected to begin in the U.K. later this year and Benedict Cumberbatch already rumored to have suited up as the magic-wielding hero in some successful screen tests, the film finally seems primed to move forward.

“There’s a lot of previsualisation, and there’s a lot of work which is very hard,” continued Davis. “You look at it and you see the imagery that they’ve created for it and you think, ‘Well how the hell do we shoot that?’ because it’s all sort of [MC] Escher stuff.”

Making his first appearance in a 1963 issue of Marvel Comics’ Strange Tales series, Doctor Strange was created by prolific writer/artist Steve Ditko. Much like his comics counterpart, the character in the film is expected to be a brilliant neurosurgeon who turns to magic to heal his hands after a car accident cuts his career short. Finding himself to be remarkably adept with the occult arts, he eventually earns the title of “Sorcerer Supreme” as the defender of humanity against supernatural threats from various dimensions.

Along with Cumberbatch in the lead role, the cast of Doctor Strange also includes Oscar-winning Michael Clayton actress Tilda Swinton as “The Ancient One.” Oscar-nominated 12 Years a Slave actor Chiwetel Ejiofor and Sherlock Holmes actress Rachel McAdams are both rumored for unspecified roles.

Doctor Strange is scheduled to hit theaters November 4.

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Rick Marshall
A veteran journalist with more than two decades of experience covering local and national news, arts and entertainment, and…
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