Being Wong – My Interview with Doctor Strange’s Benedict Wong

Oh. My. God. Have I mentioned recently how much I loved Doctor Strange? Part of what won me over on this film was its character development. With a perfectly curated cast chosen by Director Scott Derrickson, Doctor Strange nailed the roles of the 1960’s comics (even though he changed things up a bit). His choice for Benedict Wong as ‘Wong’ was no different. Despite him pretty much inverting the character to avoid stereotypes, he still created a world where Doctor Stephen Strange evolved into the wizard that he is. And it was perfect.

Benedict Wong, Interview, Wong, Doctor Strange

Marvel Disney 2016

I recently had the chance to sit down with Benedict Wong and discuss his part in the film. He was super charming from the moment he walked in with this great big smile. I was excited to hear what he had to say about production, his role as Wong and, of course, his super powers.

A mixture, sort of childhood dreams, to sort of being in kind of the Marvel Universe. Yeah, I was thrilled. -Benedict Wong

If you missed my other recent interviews with the cast and Director or the review I did of the film (well what are you waiting for)? This film is so killer! And if you can, you should definitely be seeing it in IMAX 3d.

My Interview with Benedict Wong Doctor Strange’s Wong

Benedict Wong, Interview, Wong, Doctor Strange

Photo Dusty Pendleton 2016

First, let me say when Benedict Wong walks into a room, the whole damn thing lights up. This man is full of happy. I loved it! This is what Benedict had to say about his work on Doctor Strange:

I always enjoy hearing about being cast for huge movies like this one. This is what Benedict had to say about working with friends:

I know Benedict and Chiwetel over the years and have been in a few films with him over the years. I’m very thrilled to be a part of this incredible cast, this magnitude of Marvel and we’re really embarking on this incredible journey together. I just feel like really ecstatic.”

I think when we came back in LA, we did a bit of additional photography. I was just looking over incredible costumes as we were walking into Santorum again. I just thought, oh this is just great. Sometimes, they’re just beautiful moments and you just get that warm, fuzzy feeling. I think it was just a warm fuzzy Actor Production feeling. I just thought Aw Wow. It’s culminated into something really wonderful. Sort of a mixture, sort of childhood dreams, to sort of being in kind of the Marvel Universe. Yeah, I was thrilled.

Benedict Wong, Interview, Wong, Doctor Strange

Photo Dusty Pendleton 2016

So what’s it like to be in such a huge role? Comic book fans are gnarly and they don’t hesitate to scrutinize. This is what Benedict had to say about being a big comic book fan himself and being under pressure for the role:

And then there was a Wong Character. I was like what? I was always so crestfallen that there were no Asian Superheroes, like where are the Super Asians. It’s like why I have to simply get this by birthright, you know like Ancestors will not let me live this down. Bit by bit, the kind of stars aligned and they kindly moved the dates and it kind of went straight into filming.”

There is an element of certain roles that they played in the ’60s which I think, we would really be doing with updating this for a modern Audience and then with that, I’m thrilled about the fact that he is this really kind of Drill Sergeant, that is really standing alongside with Strange. You know, they kind of fight in this Multiverse as we sort of introduce this into the Audience.”

What sticks with you after making a Marvel film? Benedict talks about it:

Yes. Benedict’s doing this elaborate spell which probably takes about a minute and then Chiwetel and I are kind of waiting in the wings to come down and obviously chastise him for breaking, space/time continuum.

I couldn’t really get the words out. It was so he is doing this Minute spell and then we come down and Chiwetel’s like what’s up with the space time continuum. And I was like pup, pup, pup. And I was like let’s go get it. So I think like the jet lag was taking effect as we were was doing this Minute elaborate spell. I was creating my own black hole and then we were literally going into double figures.”

And it was like I had to be sent home. So by the next day, we were all back on track but I think that was the kind of a bit of a wobbler.”

Benedict Wong, Interview, Wong, Doctor Strange

Photo Dusty Pendleton 2016

So can how does one relate to a magical world of super powers? Benedict talks about how he relates to Wong:

I’m a little bit of a goofball really, like a serious goofball. I think they’ve kind of got a very interesting relationship. They’re a little bit chalk and cheese. He’s got these incredible mystical powers. I think he’s also there to put in check and help him guide him through this crazy multiverse that we’re about to encounter I think.”

So what’s it like to be cast in a Marvel film? Benedicts talks about that moment:

When someone gives you this secret and you go, don’t tell anyone. Just like there is ball, but it’s kind of, I don’t know, all these sort of things where you just become and think wow all of this investment of all my pocket has really paid off in my adult life. And it’s like really good, reverb back to you. It’s wonderful.”

Benedict Wong, Interview, Wong, Doctor Strange

Photo Dusty Pendleton 2016

Any quirkiness on set? Benedict tells all:

What am I always doing? I don’t know. I never actually went to Drama School and I’m always kind of sort of always doing little funny voice warm up exercises, even if you’re bending over and you’re letting your tongue hang out.”

I am gonna do a little voice workshop Mary Had a Little Lamb Whose Fleece Was White as Snow and Everywhere That Mary Went, the Lamb was off to go. Mary Had A Little Lamb Whose Fleece Was White. So that’s what we do but there was as a side thing, there was one time where I was doing that, practicing my lines and I think it was with a film with Tim Robbins. And it was my scene with Tim Robbins and I’m in a scene with Tim Robbins.”

I’m practicing my enunciation and then the Director walked past and tapped me on the back going yes, do it like that. And I go what? I was going no because it was a vocal warm up and then you’ll see me doing it in a scene with Tim Robbins like Daffy Duck or something like that or Porky the Pig.”

Benedict Wong, Interview, Wong, Doctor Strange

Marvel / Disney 2016

So what superpowers would Benedict have anyways?

The power of understanding and unifying that everyone is one.

How do you develop a character in a Marvel film? Benedict talks about his research for Wong.

I first picked up the oath so I just kind of had a little look at that. And then, as I said, it was like certain aspects of that, Man Servant to a Tea, kind of sidekick, were just sort of, took it back into the 60s and leave it there and for me, as an Actor as well, I’m always looking for a flow, what we can we do to promote a positive role model. And the fact that I feel this kind of stoic strength of Wong that is serious but he’s very serious about the severity of what is about to happen really and these forces that we do not know.”

And obviously with the story of this arrogant Neurosurgeon becoming a broken man coming to find himself being humbled that he has a place that is bigger than himself. I’m thrilled to sort of play this role and I think Marvel, Kevin, and the gang are doing a great job really to kind of promote that.”

Doctor Strange is in theaters everywhere now! Go see it in IMAX 3d it’s amazing!

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About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Senior Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. Christa has been traveling the world since 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

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