Saturday 22 February 2014

Directing Candidates for Marvel's Doctor Strange Include Brave's Mark Andrews

It doesn't seem like so long ago that Marvel kicked off their Cinematic Universe with Iron Man in 2008, but we're now about halfway through Phase 2 of it, with our eyes starting to glance over to Phase 3. One film that's heavily talked about in relation to the third stage of Marvel's massive screen universe is Doctor Strange. And we're now starting to hear some interesting rumours about who could direct it.

The Hollywood Reporter says that four directors are under consideration for the role, and all have either met with Marvel reps, or about to. The one of most note to animation fans is Mark Andrews. Andrews took over directorial duties on Brave (a film I very much love) after original director Brenda Chapman was taken off the project; he was also second unit director on Andrew Stanton's John Carter and head of story on The Incredibles and Ratatouille.

Andrews unleashing his inner Merida at a Pixar press day for Brave in 2012.

Andrews seems a great choice for the role, given his reputation as a very high-energy filmmaker and the strong balance of peril and humour that he helped bring to Brave. That said, Disney gave first-time live-action director (and fellow Pixar top-brass) Andrew Stanton a stab at a high-budget tentpole for them a couple of years ago, with John Carter, and that lost them a lot of money. Given that Andrews also wrote Carter, it's possible Disney may want to veto that option... But then, Marvel tend to have a lot of control over their films, and have picked a lot of smaller-scale, relatively unproven directors in the past (Captain America 2's Russo brothers, Guardians of the Galaxy's James Gunn).

That, and none of the other three directors are particularly big or "safe" names either. Jonathan Levine (50/50, Warm Bodies), Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair) and Dean Israelite (Welcome to Yesterday) are the other three contenders. Also of note, Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger (Kung Fu Panda 1, 2 and 3) are circling to script the film.

TV's Hannibal is apparently in the running to be Doctor Strange.

The Doctor Strange rumours don't stop there though; a new report from Bleeding Cool also suggests that Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, Hannibal) is being eyed as a potential choice to play Strange. Interestingly, Mikkelsen starred in A Royal Affair, helmed by one of the directing candidates, Nikolaj Arcel. Another name bandied about for the role a few months ago was Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and he's also worked with one of the directors (Levine, on 50/50).

A lot of the names do appear to be busy with other stuff already, though. Just last week it was announced that Levine was re-teaming with Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt for a new Christmas film; Andrews has been known to be working on an unspecified feature for Pixar for a little while now (see this interview we did with Brave story supervisor Brian Larsen), and is one of a few Pixarians overseeing the currently-directorless The Good Dinosaur. Arcel is directing Fables for Warner Bros.. Israelite is free, but given that his only directing gig until now has been on Paramount's long-latent time-travel movie, Welcome to Yesterday, we can't judge how good a choice he'd be for the film.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the next film from Marvel, with high-concept sci-fi flick Guardians of the Galaxy following after that (check out the brilliant first trailer for that film here). After that it's Avengers: Age of Ultron to conclude Phase 2 with a bang. Then Phase 3 launches with Edgar Wright's Ant-Man, starring Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas. In addition to a third Avengers movie, a recent post on Schmoes Know says that threequels for Captain America and Thor are also on the cards, with Doctor Strange planned as the sole new movie of the phase.

Adaptations of Black Panther and The Inhumans are also apparently being talked about for future phases. It seems like there won't be anymore Iron Man films in the near future though, nor a Black Widow spin-off or another Hulk solo outing. But, given that Marvel haven't made anything bad yet (well, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. does kinda suck...), whatever they make next, we're very excited for it.


  1. You don't like Agents of SHIELD? I know it's not a perfect show but it is enjoyable. The last episodes particularly, have been very good IMO.

  2. Admittedly, I've not watch any of it in a while... I bailed after like 3 episodes. I just couldn't seem to get into it. :/

  3. Yeah, I can understand that, the show took a while to find its footing but now it finally seems to be in the right direction.

  4. Well then I might have to give it another chance!

  5. Mads Mikkelsen = Yes yes YES. He'd be perfect!

    Mark Andrews = No no NO. Please leave him alone so that he can make more animated movies with Pixar. I don't want another John Carter!