Strange Facts About Doctor Strange

Before Wednesday’s release of Doctor Strange on Blu-ray and 3D Blu-ray, familiarise yourself with these strange facts:

  1. The character of Doctor Strange was created by Marvel legend Steve Ditko, who first pitched the character by delivering a completely drawn five-page strip to Stan Lee in 1963. The good Doctor got the surname Strange because the strip was published in Marvel’s Strange Tales, and the middle name Vincent is homage to Vincent Price, the classic horror movie actor who inspired the character’s striking look.
  1. Actually, the name Doctor Strange is not just a superhero alias – the character is literally a Doctor called Stephen Strange in his everyday life. It’s a great handle, so there’s no surprise that the lead singer of New Wave pop outfit Visage, borrowed it from the comics and changed his name from Steven Harrington to Steve Strange back in the 70s.
  1. Doctor Strange’s immortal mentor and guide to the mysteries of the multiverse is The Ancient One, played by Tilda Swinton. Appropriately enough, this is a role she’s had several fictional lifetimes to prepare for, having previously taken on timeless, ageless roles in The Chronicles of Narnia, super-cool vampire romance Only Lovers Left Alive and, first of all, Orlando, the film that originally brought her cult status.
  1. Similarly, it’s also a case of history repeating for Rachel McAdams, who plays Doctor Steven Strange’s colleague Christine Palmer. Previously, McAdams’ characters have courted men who travel through time in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, Richard Curtis’ About Time and the big screen version of Audrey Niffenegger’s best-selling novel, The Time Traveller’s Wife.
  1. Doctor Strange’s base of operations is the Sanctum Santorum, a multi-storey townhouse tucked away in New York’s Greenwich Village. But much like 221b Baker Street, the supposed abode of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock, the address of 177a Bleecker Street is a fictional house number on a real street. Turn up to look for Dr. Strange and all you’ll find at number 177 Bleecker Street is a grocery store, with no 177a to be seen.
  1. One set alone was an incredibly detailed replica of a Hong Kong street, filling out a service road at Longcross Studios with 35 separate, functional storefronts. According to Cumberbatch, this fake street was perfectly detailed. “There are presses and metal workshops and restaurants and knick-knack shops and stalls where you actually could cook some food,” he explained, “You could go and have something mended in one of those metal workshops. You could have a card printed in the paper shop.”
  1. Not all of the sequences set in Nepal were filmed on location, with a little bit of Kathmandu painstakingly recreated in London. The production design and construction teams built a total of 21 sets for the film, though even that impressive number downplays the sheer scale of what they produced.
  1. One of Marvel’s biggest and most ambitious action sequences to date takes was staged for Doctor Strange. To add to the complexity of capturing such a massive scene, it had to be filmed in reverse order to get the desired effect. As part of this sequence, the colossal Hong Kong street set had to be gradually demolished. As filming went on, the sets were worked over and 350 tons of real rubble were brought in to visually enhance the wreckage. On screen, however, the effect will be reversed, with the buildings shown as going from destroyed to clean as the action plays out.
  1. There are plenty of real-life locations to be seen in the film too. A few intimate scenes were shot at Exeter College at the University of Oxford, which is where Richard Burton, JRR Tolkien and Mark Labbett, aka The Beast from TV gameshow The Chase, were all educated.
  1. As Doctor Strange learns, the wi-fi password at The Ancient One’s temple in Kamar-Taj is Shamballa. This is the name of a mystical kingdom, long known to Buddhists and Hindus, and central to the stand-out Doctor Strange graphic novel, Into Shamballa.

Distributor Sony Pictures NZ provided this promotional material.

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One Response to “Strange Facts About Doctor Strange”

  1. Why so much Dr Strange guff? It was a good movie but deep down just another recycling of the Ironman story.

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