Raimi returns to the director’s chair with ‘Doctor Strange’ sequel – The Oakland Press

It was a full circle moment for Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige to work with Royal Oak native Sam Raimi again on “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” which hit theaters Friday.

“It’s surreal,” described Feige, who was an associate producer on 2002’s “Spider-Man,” which Raimi directed. “I was a young producer who felt lucky to be in the same room as him. Now I’m a former producer who feels lucky to be in the same room as him.

“When (Feige) announced that he wanted to bring a bit of a horror element to (‘Multiverse’), it was interesting to me. Horror and suspense have always been fun aspects of cinema for One of the reasons I’m interested in Dr. Strange as a character is because he’s a magician… A superhero who’s an illusionist and a magician is particularly interesting,” explained Raimi, a Groves High School and Michigan State University alumnus who now lives in Los Angeles.

Feige and Raimi took part in a virtual press conference for the film on May 1 with Benedict Cumberbatch (Dr. Strange), Benedict Wong (Wong), Elizabeth Olsen (The Scarlet Witch), Xochitl Gomez (America Chavez) and screenwriter Michael Waldron. “Multiverse” is the 28th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a sequel to 2016’s “Doctor Strange.”

This image released by Marvel Studios shows Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff in a scene from “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” (Marvel Studios via AP)

Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (who also created Spider-Man), Strange made his debut in Marvel’s “Strange Tales” #110 in 1963. A brilliant but arrogant surgeon, Stephen Strange was seriously injured in a car accident. car, unable to perform surgery. again. Eventually, Strange seeks out the Elder, a powerful mage, to heal him. Instead, Strange becomes his student, learning magic. Redeeming himself, he eventually becomes Sorcerer Supreme, protecting the Earth from supernatural threats.

“Multiverse” comes after 2021’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” where Strange and three incarnations of Spider-Man (current Spidey Tom Holland, Tobey Maguire, and Andrew Garfield) battled to save reality as villains from other realities were invading theirs. Events of the 2021 miniseries “WandaVision” and “What If?” (where Cumberbatch voiced Strange) also stars in “Multiverse.”

In “Multiverse”, a malevolent entity targets Chavez, who possesses the power to travel from reality to reality. Strange must save her, coming face to face with alternate versions of himself. He also encounters a secret cabal of superheroes called the Illuminati (no spoilers here).

“They’re great actors, and they know what it’s like to be a human being; they have a vast array of experiences that they aren’t afraid to incorporate into their performances,” Raimi said. “They also know their characters very well. (Cumberbatch, Olsen, and Wong) have played their characters for so many years now, (in) so many important Marvel movies. It’s great to see this knowledge of their characters that they had in this movie because (they’re in) the multiverse… which is basically a mirror.

This image released by Marvel Studios shows Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff in a scene from “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” (Marvel Studios via AP)

“They encounter altered versions of themselves. These actors are so good that they know they only have to change the slightest aspect of their character’s personality to create an interesting conflict with their altered selves.

Cumberbatch agreed.

“Sam alluded to it – it’s the humanity that keeps people coming back for more. I think we see that in this movie,” he added.

“Multiverse” is Raimi’s first film since 2013’s “Oz: The Great and Powerful,” which was filmed in Pontiac and served as the prequel to 1939’s seminal “The Wizard of Oz.” years as a producer, including the horror films “Don’t Breathe”.

The fourth of five children, Raimi grew up making Super 8 films with his friend Bruce Campbell, who would go on to become an actor in his own right. Raimi made his mark with 1981’s “The Evil Dead,” the low-budget horror film he wrote and directed, which starred Campbell. The majority was filmed in Michigan. Not only did it launch Raimi’s career, but it also became a successful media franchise. “The Evil Dead” has been hailed by critics as one of the most important cult films, as well as one of the greatest horror films of all time and one of the most successful independent films. .

Raimi directed “Spider-Man” with Maguire as the titular hero. Critically acclaimed, it was the first superhero movie to gross $100 million for its opening weekend alone. Its total box office gross was $825 million. Raimi directed “Spider-Man 2” in 2004 and “Spider-Man 3” in 2007. Collectively, the trilogy grossed $2.5 billion worldwide. He’s considered the godfather of modern superhero film, a title he isn’t entirely comfortable with as he mumbled “Oh, my God” when it was mentioned during the junket.

“I was very lucky to get that directing job,” Raimi said. “I love Spider-Man.”

He talked about how far filmmaking has come since shooting “The Evil Dead” on a shoestring budget when he was a student and aspiring filmmaker, as well as his decade-long absence from the director’s chair.

“Technology has changed, and it’s become a lot easier,” he explained. “Above all, the technological difference that really allowed me to work more efficiently on this film was Zoom, the modern telecommunications system. I could talk to dozens of crew members at once. We could show an artist’s storyboard, the editor can (show) a piece of the cut – we really had great communication, audio and visual. You can talk to 100 people at once, that’s fantastic.

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