Cumberbatch feels comic fan pressure over superhero role

HONG KONG: British film star Benedict Cumberbatch said Thursday the pressure is on to please diehard comic fans as he takes on the role of Marvel's Dr Strange, a fictional superhero sorcerer.

Speaking in Hong Kong ahead of the movie's release later this month, Cumberbatch said he hoped his first time playing a superhero would meet the high bar of enthusiasts.

"These comics and the films that Marvel make are driven by the people who read them and are fans," Cumberbatch said.

"It's very important to us that the fans are thrilled, that their expectations are met, but most importantly that they're exceeded," he added.

With co-star Tilda Swinton, director Scott Derrickson and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige at his side, Cumberbatch also said playing the character had rubbed off — and he too wished he could have a superpower.

"I'd love to be able to fly," he told reporters.

"There's nothing better than that, and I got to do some of that in this film."

While in Hong Kong, Cumberbatch also said he was looking forward to a possible swim in Hong Kong's famous Victoria Harbour and eating dim sum.

Cumberbatch, 40, who rose to global stardom playing the title role in the BBC's hit television detective series "Sherlock", did most of his own fight scenes in Dr Strange.

"When I think about the production, a lot of what comes to mind is Benedict being in physical pain and having to perform in situations where he's sparring or fighting and getting hit and kicked — because that's what happens when you do your own fight scenes," director Derrickson said.

Surreal, reality-bending scenes set in international locations, including Nepal and New York were featured in the trailer of the movie, which opens in Hong Kong on Oct 27 and Nov 4 in the US.

Cumberbatch is the latest of a slew of Hollywood stars to take lead roles in Marvel movies, including Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, Scarlett Johansson, as Black Widow, and Chris Evans as Captain America.

Kevin Feige said the British actor had always been his first choice to play Stephen Vincent Strange, a neurosurgeon who loses the use of his hands in a car accident.

"We moved the schedule of the movie release around specifically for Benedict which we've never done before, but he's clearly, perfectly Dr Strange."

In his quest to repair his injuries, Dr Strange starts a mystical journey which sees him become a hero sorcerer with superpowers.

Created in the 1960s, the character uses his large trademark red "cloak of levitation" to fly. — AFP