Marvel really had their pick of actors when they were deciding to get the lead star for "Doctor Strange." The role ultimately went to British star Benedict Cumberbatch, but prior to handing him the role, they were also considering Joaquin Phoenix, Ethan Hawke, Matthew McConaughey, Ewan McGregor, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Oscar Isaac.
During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Marvel executive Kevin Feige said that they were really impressed with Cumberbatch's acting skills and were keen on getting him even before he catapulted to fame.
"He was someone that we were very interested in for a very long time," said Feige. "(But) he kept getting more and more popular! Which is not (essential) for us. Chris Pratt was not popular when we cast him in 'Guardians' (of the Galaxy). That's not a prerequisite needed for us casting (someone)."
Cumberbatch's rising popularity was actually a hindrance for Marvel, who found it difficult to work around the actor's jam-packed schedule.
"But he kept getting more popular, and more popular, and he kept getting busier, and busier, and it looked like the timing wasn't going to work," he said.
They even considered getting another star for the film, but since they really had their hearts set on Cumberbatch, they chose him - busy schedule and all.
"We looked at some other actors for a while and ultimately decided, 'We have to try and make it work with Benedict and with his schedule.' Which is why we shifted the production schedule around," shared Feige. "He finished 'Hamlet' here in London, and I think had a day off, and then went to Kathmandu, Nepal, to shoot the first day of 'Doctor Strange.'"
Meanwhile, Feige also discussed the mysterious role of female lead Rachel McAdams.
"Rachel McAdams plays a fellow surgeon that has a history with Strange and is his sort of lynchpin to his old life, once he steps into he role of a sorcerer. She is someone he connects with at the beginning, and reconnects with, and helps anchor his humanity," he shared with Entertainment Weekly.
"Rachel McAdams is sort of (Doctor Strange's) contemporary in the modern-day New York world, before and after he goes on this crazy journey. So, she sees him before, she sees him after. She's kind of this audience point of view," he added.
When asked if there would be any romance brewing between Strange and McAdams' character, Feige answered: "I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say what the interest is, but if I hit on her more than the Ancient One, put it like that."