Benedict Cumberbatch Says a Journey From Fact to Faith Is at the Heart of Doctor Strange

Illustration for article titled Benedict Cumberbatch Says a Journey From Fact to Faith Is at the Heart of Doctor Strange

Rarely do characters go through as dramatic a change as Stephen Strange will in the upcoming Marvel movie, Doctor Strange. He’ll go from being a highly clinical, science-based surgeon to an ethereal, mystical being. Speaking with io9, actor Benedict Cumberbatch explained why that was so crucial and exciting.


“This man comes from a binary universe where it’s all about logic,” the actor told us at San Diego Comic-Con. “He controls his fate and the fate of people under his knife—by skill, by hard work, by stuff literally at his disposal at the end of his hands. And the metaphor of him losing that through the crash, the tendons, the muscles, every manufacture of damage you can imagine, is sort of an emblem for how, when you lose control, you have to find something else.”

If you know the story of Doctor Strange, you know that something else the character finds is going to open up a whole new world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: a world in multiple dimensions.

“In search of the healing of his hands, what he really finds is the healing of his soul,” Cumberbatch continued. “He finds this other, ultimately different way of thinking about things which is through Eastern mysticism and, beyond that, what that opens up into other dimensions. Literally.”

As an actor, Cumberbatch relished the chance to have such a huge effect, not just on the other Marvel movies, but to play a character that goes on such a transformative journey.

“[The existence of other dimensions] is exciting for the Marvel Cinematic Universe because you have this huge new canvas that he brings to the whole thing,” the actor said. “And as an actor playing someone who starts there and goes to that it’s just wonderful. It’s a riot. And there’s a lot of humor in the collision between Eastern mysticism and Western scientific, sort of logical binary. That’s good fun to play and that was important for me to take that element into our version of Strange.”

Doctor Strange opens November 4.


Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo


Sorely Vexed

It’s not really “faith” if it works, is it? If, for example, it could be proven that prayer produces miracles, pretty much everyone would become religious overnight. No faith required.

Faith is only necessary to get people to keep believing stuff that isn’t real. Dr. Strange doesn’t have faith, because magic (in his universe) works.