Belfast Telegraph

Cumberbatch thrilled by Dr Strange

Benedict Cumberbatch has revealed he has been swotting up on the Doctor Strange comics, ahead of his new role.

The Imitation Game star, who is to play the Marvel Comics neurosurgeon-turned-superhero in an upcoming movie, admitted he barely read comics when he was younger.

"Growing up, no. I didn't read many comics at all. Asterix a bit. I think that was it," he told the Wall Street Journal.

"There weren't many comics in my household... We didn't have Marvel so much. But you can bet your bottom dollar I'm reading them now, avidly."

Benedict cannot wait to start filming Doctor Strange with director Scott Derrickson, although it will begin after his starring turn in Lyndsey Turner's production of Hamlet at the Barbican and the Sherlock 2015 Christmas special.

"I'm really excited about it, about working with Scott whose imagination is endless, and all the boys and girls at Marvel who know what they're doing," he said.

"I've got a few things to get under my belt first. I've got to do that little stage production of Hamlet in the summer and the Christmas special of Sherlock, which we start shooting in about three days' time."

The 38-year-old actor continued: "I don't think it's a risk because of Marvel. Marvel is a stable of bringing out ordinary comic characters and turning them into screen-like gods. It's very different, it's an Astral Plane. There's a huge new element to this Marvel universe that's going to be employed in building this story and this character."

Benedict - who once taught English to Tibetan Buddhist monks - revealed he's "very excited" about the "spiritual dimension" surrounding the character, saying: "It's something that's been a huge part of my life. I meditate a lot."

The actor, who is engaged to theatre director Sophie Hunter, teased he's putting work before marriage, saying: "My main focus is going to be on (work)... One thing at a time!"

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