Benedict Cumberbatch explains how he separated Doctor Strange in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ from the title character in ‘Patrick Melrose,’ while dividing his time between sets. He also campaigns to add add Strange to a Top Doctors list.
Dan MacMedan, USA TODAY
However, since the roles were so different — Infinity War‘s neurosurgeon-turned-wizard Doctor Strange and Melrose‘s title character, an addict seeking redemption — and the film sets were thousands of miles apart, it wasn’t difficult keeping them separate, Cumberbatch says.
“They’re literally in different locales and completely different genres, so I was happy to have a different thing to focus on,” he says. “There was a bit of madness at the beginning of Infinity War because we were doing pickups for The Current War, so that was sort of three jobs overriding one another.”
(The release of The Current War, in which Cumberbatch plays Thomas Edison, was scheduled for late 2017 but then postponed after producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual misconduct.)
It helped that Cumberbatch wasn’t as involved in one of the five Melrose episodes, because it focused on a nine-year-old Patrick played by Sebastian Maltz. Melrose is based on five semi-autobiographical novels by Edward St. Aubyn.
“There was a good five weeks that didn’t involve me (in Melrose) and that was partly used in Georgia to do a bit of Doctor Strange in the Avengers” film, he says.
Cumberbatch doesn’t like to spoil details for viewers, but he’s a little more lenient regarding Melrose.
“It’s not as if I’m giving away the secrets to another little film that’s going on at the moment,” he says, perhaps the only time Infinity War will be called “another little film.” With the Marvel box-office smash, his anti-spoiler philosophy is “trying to encourage people to leave something as a surprise for when they buy the ticket and see the film.”
As for Melrose, he calls it a story of salvation, as it follows Patrick from the depths of addiction to a chance for redemption that includes marriage and fatherhood. “Sorry if that’s a spoiler, but the books are available,” he said.
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