Magazine article Screen International

'Doctor Strange' Set for "Dark", "Psychedelic" Look

Magazine article Screen International

'Doctor Strange' Set for "Dark", "Psychedelic" Look

Article excerpt

Cinematographer Ben Davis has shed light on the look of Marvel's upcoming Doctor Strange, which is set to shoot in the UK later this year starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role.

Davis, who was director of photography on Guardians of the Galaxy and also lensed Avengers: Age of Ultron for the mini-studio, revealed that the film is set for a "dark" palette and "psychedelic grounding".

Speaking at a BAFTA Masterclass in London last night (Aug 4), Davis suggested that the film's visuals will be influenced by the images of 20th century artist M. C. Escher, known for his mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints, featuring impossible constructions and explorations of infinity.

"Marvel's Fantasia"

"It has a very psychedelic grounding, and it's not your typical Marvel action movie," he stated, before noting that his initial reaction to the project was that it could be "Marvel's Fantasia".

"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."

"There's a lot of previsualisation, and there's a lot of work which is very hard - 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 Escher stuff.

"It's all very out there," he continued. "I can't really say much more about it, I'm afraid. But I think it'll be really interesting, and it's a very dark movie, I'm pleased to say.

"DP's always love the word 'dark'. The trouble is that most producers don't like dark. Mostly you get into DI [Digital Intermediate process] and people don't seem to like dark anymore!"

Plot and character details are being kept largely under wraps on the Scott Derrickson-directed feature, whose comic source material follows a brilliant, renowned and very arrogant neurosurgeon whose career is abruptly cut short by a car accident.

With his hands too damaged to perform surgery, Strange is driven to desperate measures to try and heal himself, and eventually turns to magic.

It is through his discovery of the mystical arts that he ultimately earns the 'Sorcerer Supreme' moniker, and through his new role as Earth's protector that he becomes a better man.

Cumberbatch, star of Sherlock and The Imitation Game, leads the cast alongside Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tilda Swinton among the supporting roles.

Doctor Strange is scheduled for release on October 28, 2016 in the UK, and a week later in the US on November 4.

Erosion of DoP role

During the wide-ranging masterclass Davis expressed concern for what he termed the "erosion of the role of cinematographer". …

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