“Doctor Strange 2”: Benedict Cumberbatch faces the challenge of playing several versions of his character

Without “disclosing” anything of the content of the new Marvel movie Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, in the cinema this May 4, the neurosurgeon with superpowers finds himself from the first minutes facing another version of himself. An intimate face-to-face that upsets Doctor Strange. He becomes aware of the dangers of the multiverse, these parallel dimensions already mentioned in the first film Doctor Strangethen in Spider-Man: No Way Home.

In other words, somewhere in the universe, another Doctor Strange lives his life differently from the one who lives on Earth and especially with perhaps less virtuous intentions…

If the multiverse was already a concept known to fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the arrival of the character America Chavez (played by the young Xochitl Gomez, 16), allows to increase the possibilities tenfold thanks to his power to open portals to different universes.

In Spider-Man: No Way Home, viewers had the pleasure of seeing three different versions of Spider-Man brought together in the same film. This time it’s Stephen Strange who has to deal with his clones. How did actor Benedict Cumberbatch rise to the challenge of playing multiple shades of himself? He returned to this difficulty during a press conference given by videoconference from Los Angeles on Sunday May 2 in the presence of the other actors of the film (Chiwetel Ejiofor, Xochitl Gomez, Benedict Wong), and director Sam Raimi.

With this multiverse, we play multirole with incredible possibilities of interpretation. Doctor Strange encounters other versions of himself. There are confrontations between him and another Stephen Strange. To make it work, it’s a fine balance between being the same character and playing a little different.”laughs Benedict Cumberbatch.

The actor digs a little more this introspection of his character. “Strange discovers, through his experience and the alternate versions of himself in the multiverse, how his behavior follows the same patterns. It’s like a fingerprint, an identity card of his personality and the dangers that she represents in any universe. Will he become his enemy’s hero or his hero’s enemy?”.

The director Sam Raimi, dressed in a tuxedo cut to the millimeter during the presentation of the film, admitted that this confrontation with the multiverse had boosted the imagination of the actors. “The actors were very creative. We were able to recreate better things than if I had been alone. They changed a few details of their character’s character to stay in conflict with themselves”.

Beyond Doctor Stephen Strange who multiplies his presence, like other actors in the film, the spectator must expect a rather dark story in the face of the horrors that come out of the multiverse. This is the direction that Sam Raimi wanted to give to this sequel to the adventures of the neurosurgeon draped in the powerful cape of levitation.

“When Kevin Feige announced that he wanted to bring a horror twist to Doctor Strange, I was immediately interested”explains Sam Raimi. “For me, horror and suspense is the most fun in cinema. What captivates me the most about the character of Doctor Strange is that he is a magician. I myself was in my youth, for children’s parties or weddings. I loved to create illusions. A superhero who is an illusionist and a magician arouses in me a particular interest “.

“What captivates me most about the character of Doctor Strange is that he is a magician”

Sam Raimi

director of “Doctor Strange 2”

Obviously engaged in an exercise in self-promotion, the members of the cast have promised mountains and wonders for this film. For Benedict Cumberbatch, navigating the multiverse is the film’s strong point. “The few sequences where they will cross several worlds will take the breath of the fans. The stakes are real, the threat is on a planetary scale. And all these elements fit together perfectly”believes the actor, nominated in the best actor category at the 2022 Oscars for his role in Power of the Dog by Jane Campion.

In the deluge of special effects designed to give shape to the multiverse, Sam Raimi does not forget that the key to seducing the public remains the humanity that his actors bring to the film. “Technology has changed and it’s become easier to make this kind of film. But the most important thing is the humanity of the actors to connect with their superhero. So nothing has changed for that”he judges.

Elisabeth Olsen, who returns to the big screen with her heroine Wanda, defends this human progression of her character through the Marvel Cinematic Universe which is still expanding with this intermingling of parallel realities. “No matter what happens to her, my goal is to continue to make her progress and evolve as a woman”. Sam Raimi opines: “Wanda defends her point of view in the film, she brings a great humanity that connects with the audience”. To see if the fans will be of the same opinion.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is in theaters from Wednesday, May 4.

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“Doctor Strange 2”: Benedict Cumberbatch faces the challenge of playing several versions of his character