Whenever we think of Rachel McAdams it’s usually in her past roles. Either from The Notebook, Mean Girls, Sherlock Holmes, McAdams takes on a variety of roles and sometimes you get lose in the character work and for me, it’s sometimes hard to reconcile the characters as the same actor. In her latest role, McAdams is bringing Christine Palmer to the screen for Doctor Strange. A doctor in her own right, and the main love interest for Doctor Strange – I went into the movie expecting her part to be a bit part. Instead, the character becomes a larger part of the story, and McAdams brings her to life as a strong and intelligent part of the cast.
A part in a Marvel movie is a lot different than the past roles we’ve seen McAdams in, so when we sat down to discuss the new film we had to ask her what it was like to join Marvel’s Cinematic Universe.”It was everything I had hoped for and more really. I assumed I would be working with you know the crème de la crème really and I was. So it was just great to be in such great hands. And you now just from costumes to everything was just so well done, so beautifully thought through and well-crafted. And they didn’t even make me pretend that much with green screen. I mean that’s how considerate they were. They had real things on fishing wires to actually try and scare me. And so it was, they are very thoughtful people.”
Marvel’s Cinematic Universe has become very popular over the past several years, and it has started to bring in new fans – even the actors themselves. “I hadn’t read the Dr. Strange comics growing up. I was kind of reading you know Judy Blume and stuff like that. But I’ve since educated myself. And I think the Dr. Strange ones are so different from the other comics which is nice. I love the movies but I hadn’t read a lot of the comics.”
Christine Palmer is a doctor and the role required some research before McAdams even began acting. “I’m a little funny when it comes to blood and guts and stuff like that. But my mom’s a nurse so I’d kind of grown up around medicine which is probably why I became an actress instead. But I did get to shadow some amazing brain surgeons, a female brain surgeon in Toronto, another surgeon in London. And then we had a surgeon onset every day. He taught me to do sutures and was practicing on turkey breasts, raw turkey breasts. That was interesting. Oranges, that was a little easier to take in my purse so I could practice wherever I went.
“I read this really great book called do no harm by Henry Marsh who is a world-famous brain surgeon which was a phenomenal book and really like eye-opening when it comes to you know being your own advocate when it comes to your health. And I thought it was so funny, he said the number of people who don’t ask me how many times I’ve actually done the surgery I’m about to do on them is extraordinary. It gave me some good insight into things, questions to ask if I was ever in that position. I got to learn a lot. And one of the doctors offered to take me up in the EVAC helicopter for the weekend. So cool, right? But I’m terrified of flying. And I’d have a weak stomach. So I was like, I actually think for the sake of everyone I should decline this really generous offer. So I didn’t unfortunately get over my fear and do that.
“It was very educational. And I became kind of obsessed with the suturing. It was like, almost like knitting. I just took it everywhere with me and like would put it on a doorknob and I think I looked little crazy but it was fun.”
Most of the characters in Doctor Strange have elaborate costumes, but Christine Palmer appears in scrubs or street clothes throughout the movie – we wondered what it was like to be in the less elaborate costumes in comparison. “I loved it. So comfortable, I got to wear like orthopedic running shoes every day. And you know, like high heels are not comfortable, you know the older you get the harder it is to wear them, or for very long. So I was really grateful for that. And I was a little jealous of the levitation cloak but I was happy to be comfortable.”
We see Christine get startled quite a bit in the film – what was it like having to be scared over and over again? “You hope they get it on the first one because that is usually startling, the first time. And then you just kind of fake it the rest of the time. But they were very helpful – I was never quite sure where the startling was coming from, the sounds were coming from or, yeah. I’m also a total scaredy-cat in real life. So you know it’s not a far stretch for me.”
Christine Palmer is another very emotional character, McAdams pulled her inspiration from people around her. “I think having a mother as a nurse who’s so compassionate and she really unfortunately would take her work home with her sometimes. So, and I think Christine’s more that kind of character. So I think I kind of grew up with that a little bit and have great admiration for people who do that for a living and who are real empaths. So I suppose I drew that from my mom a bit.
“And you know she did IV therapy. If she would miss someone’s vein, she would beat herself up you know so bad. So, I guess it was a little bit personal that way. But also you know Benedict is such an extraordinary actor that you just have to be present with him and it all kind of falls into place. I mean, we did a lot of crying together. We cried one day for eight hours straight, every single take. And I’ve never been able to do that before. I mean, you know it comes, it goes, it comes back again. But with him I mean he’s so emotionally available and present that I’d look at him and I’d start crying. You know it was just like water works all day long. We both had these incredible headaches at the end of the day. And I was like, well we’re dehydrated you know. So yeah, so I really have to you know give kudos to him for that.”
Every role is different, but McAdams was thrilled when she got the role of Christine Palmer. “I was just over the moon. I met with Scott and he was just so incredibly passionate and you know a self-proclaimed comic geek. And I think that’s who you want at the helm of something like this. It was so personal for him. I just knew he was the right guy for it and that you know I’d be great hands. And you know that Marvel would be so supportive as well. I was just excited at the possibilities.”
During the movie, Christine Palmer rarely has scenes by herself. But that doesn’t mean McAdams always had a cast mate while filming. “I wasn’t alone very much. I wasn’t alone as much as I thought it would be. They actually, there was a dummy of Benedict, because there were times when Benedict had to be on wires but there also needed to be his body on you know on the table as well. So, so but the dummy was so lifelike that I would talk to it. I would squeeze his arm and be like, “are you okay?” “You know like, you haven’t said anything in a while ” “Are you hungry? Can I get you something”
With Doctor Strange being the beginning of the story, we wondered where McAdams saw her character in the story and in future movies. “Oh, I want my own cloak. I mean, that’s also up in the air that you know. I haven’t really thought about it because it’s you know, really is sort of to be determined. I think the success of the film you know determines that. And so, so we’ll see. So I mean I loved being a part of it so of course you know I would be more than happy to go forward with it.”
Since Rachel McAdams is new to the Marvel scene, and has a larger fan base in other films, we expect that she will be introducing new fans to the series and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “I hope the Mean Girls girls like it!” And we think they all will!
About Doctor Strange:
From Marvel Studios comes “Doctor Strange,” the story of world-famous neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange whose life changes forever after a horrific car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he is forced to look for healing, and hope, in an unlikely place—a mysterious enclave known as Kamar-Taj. He quickly learns that this is not just a center for healing but also the front line of a battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying our reality. Before long Strange—armed with newly acquired magical powers—is forced to choose whether to return to his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.
“Doctor Strange” stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt and Scott Adkins, with Mads Mikkelsen and Tilda Swinton. Scott Derrickson is directing with Kevin Feige producing. Louis D’Esposito, Stephen Broussard, Victoria Alonso, Charles Newirth and Stan Lee serve as executive producers. Jon Spaihts and Scott Derrickson & C. Robert Cargill wrote the screenplay. Join Strange on his dangerous, mystifying and totally mind-bending journey when Marvel Studios’ “Doctor Strange” opens in U.S. theaters on November 4, 2016.
Check out the Doctor Strange TV Spot:
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