Doctor Strange hits US theaters tonight! While it seems that there might be nothing left the cast and crew could possibly share about the movie, the background information continues to come. Today, Collider released a short sit down with Director Scott Derrickson and he shed some light on his source material, deleted scenes, and the process of getting the Doctor Strange gig. For those who don’t want to know any plot elements to the film, we will put a mild SPOILER ALERT on what follows. You can check out some quotes from the interview and the video below.
First off, the relationship between the comics and films at Marvel is always a mixed bag. The film studio cares about fan service and faithful adaptation but rarely does that via paint-by-numbers scripting. More frequently, they mimic a scene here or there or a general story element. For Doctor Strange Derrickson did pull one scene direct from the critically acclaimed storyline “The Oath.”
I designed several set pieces [as part of the interview process]. The one that’s in the movie, I wrote, it was a 12-page scene of the astral fight with Rachel McAdams saving his life which is in “The Oath.”
This is probably the scene from the trailers where McAdams is protecting a body, defibrillation paddles in hand, while sparks fly. This scene was part of Derrickson’s pitch and Marvel bought the storyboards off of him to put it in the movie. “The Oath” wasn’t the only comic deep dip Derrickson made.
We shot a scene, you know in the comics, if you know the comics well, Strange has a backstory where his sister died when he was young and that she drowned and that had a real significant effect, and probably was instrumental in him becoming a doctor. And we shot that scene and we loved that scene. It was a really great scene. It just didn’t fit in the movie.
While viewers won’t see this scene in the theatrical release, Derrickson does hope that this scene will make the DVD/Bluray release. The decision to leave it out also tells fans a little bit about what particular angle to Strange’s history the film plans on taking. Strange’s sister and accident are two different types of motivators and it would be a natural mistake for a film to do both and neither well. The film apparently chose to take on the accident and spiritual conversion take as the main beat.
Fidelity to the source material is one of the reasons that Derrickson is a great choice for the role. That, and his passion for the material.
Kevin [Feige], to his credit, responds to passion and vision and he sees the capabilities of directors and their appropriateness for certain material based on their films and he knew that my work in supernatural filmmaking fit Doctor Strange.
Fans will file this quote in the “things we already know” file, but Feige deserves praise for this ability as frequently as it comes. After a rough patch early in Phase 2, highlighted by the disgruntled Alan Taylor and the loss of Edgar Wright, Marvel has turned a corner and seems to be batting 1.000. The Russo Brothers, James Gunn, Peyton Reed, and Derrickson are all unusual choices for major blockbuster directors and they are all hitting it out of the park. Feige is using criteria that other Hollywood execs would do well to mimic.
When it came to hiring a director, Feige certainly had his pick of several. According to Derrickson, Doctor Strange appealed to directors more than any other Marvel property has.
They had told me that there were more directors vying for this job than any directing job they’ve ever had. More people wanted Doctor Strange than any movie.
Of all the Marvel properties, Doctor Strange does provide a unique opportunity. The highly visual nature of the film allows a director to show off their ability to execute a vision and create a world. Guardians of the Galaxy has a similar quality. Just as MCU space will always grasp with the precedent of Gunn, MCU magic will always be rooted in the mind and creativity of Derrickson.
For more of the interview, including Derrickson’s efforts to get the job, check out the Collider link below.