Brave director Mark Andrews and 50/50 filmmaker Jonathan Levine have reportedly been shortlisted to take charge of a planned movie version of the Doctor Strange comics. Nikolaj Arcel and Dean Israelite have also met with Marvel Studios bosses about helming the project, which will follow the adventures of the evil Sorcerer Supreme, a surgeon whose hands are damaged in an horrific car accident, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The Doctor Strange film has been in the works at Marvel for years. The character was previously brought to life in cartoons and in a TV movie in 1978.
Right on the heels of introducing the world to the Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel is on the hunt for a director to bring their next lesser-known comic book hero Doctor Strange to life. While Strange is probably a slightly better known character to non-comic book devotees than the cosmic misfits that make up the Guardians, he still resides firmly on the fringes of public awareness, despite the character being an essential figure in Marvel's long-running comic book universe. Presently, there are four names that Marvel is considering to handle this new project: Mark Andrews, Nikolaj Arcel, Dean Israelite, and Jonathan Levine.
First, a bit about the character: Doctor Strange, a surgeon turned sorcerer, learns the secrets of mysticism after a car accident ruins the nerves in his hands, and ends his medical career. Strange often battles with bigger ideas than his spandexed counterparts, and the character's stories have long been steeped with cosmic questions and mystical settings mixed with '60s psychedelia and psychology. Created in 1963 by the legendary Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, the publication ensnared free-minded college students who were surprised to learn that comics could pack such an intellectual wallop. Doctor Strange is far from your typical Marvel superhero. He's a man of fierce intellect, and he often serves as a spiritual guidepost for much of Marvel's crowded superhero landscape. He juggles whiz bang action with serious surrealism and mysticism, and these disparate elements need to be merged into his upcoming adventure.
Marvel is currently courting several directors to craft Doctor Strange's first live-action adventure, and the field is a diverse smattering of directors from all over the filmmaking landscape. They've also approached screenwriters Jon Aibel and Glenn Berger to pen the script, and are considering Hannibal star Mads Mikkelson to play the title character. Depending on who they ultimately choose to direct, the Doctor Strange film could potentialy take a very different shape when all is said in done. Let's look at Marvel's short list of directors:
Notable Works: BraveWhy He Fits: Andrews has had a long and storied career in animation, and has served as a storyboard artist for several animated modern classics, including The Iron Giant and Ratatouille. He also directed and co-wrote Pixar's Brave, an underappreciated gem. Andrews might be able to transfer his long career working with storyboards, which are themselves essentially comic book blueprints for animated films, into the creation of a film based on actual comics.
Notable Works: A Royal Affair
Why He Fits: The characters and stories that make up Doctor Strange's publication history have always had a foreign and even otherworldly flair to it, with the Doctor often going way outside of his Greenwich Village home to investigate different mysteries. The good doctor often bumps into strange creatures on his travels. Director Arcel already has experience directing lavish set pieces and costumes with his work in A Royal Affair, though it remains to be seen if he can translate the detailed production work for a period piece into a film with comic book sensibilities.
Notable Works: Nothing Yet
Why He Fits: Dean Israelite's filmography is very much a work in progress at the moment. The director is by far the least recognizable name on the list, with little on his resume besides a couple of short films. In 2014, we'll see Israelite's first feature film, Welcome to Yesterday: a loopy looking found-footage time travel genre bender that seems like the angsty teenage offspring of Primer and Chronicle. The trailer for the film shows that the director has gained some experience in special effect filmmaking which he can apply to a Doctor Strange film.
Notable Works: 50/50, Warm Bodies
Why He Fits: Comic book movies aren’t all visuals and explosions, and Levine has shown that he can do wonders with a great script. Levine has done some great genre filmmaking with his work on Warm Bodies, but he also has a delicate enough of a touch to hit all the right notes in a film like 50/50, which is full of smaller moments, as well as boisterous comedy. All of his films also share a sharp wit, something that is always present in Marvel's films.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has released its list of nominees for the annual BAFTA Awards, also known as the British Oscars or the only big awards show with a category just for British only. Surprise, surprise, the Brits have come out on top; the historical drama, The King’s Speech swept the noms with 14 in total. Close behind is Darren Aronofsky’s surprising thriller, Black Swan with 12 total nominations. The British Film category that comes in addition to the BAFTA’s “Best Film” category gives a second chance to 127 Hours, which doesn’t make the top five in the overall category but has the chance to take the top Brits-only honor. Also of note, 14 year old Hailee Steinfeld, who’s blowing audiences away in December’s True Grit, merits the grownup honor of a nomination for best lead actress for her role in the film (mini fist pump!).
While the awards will be broadcast exclusively on BBC One, sorry America, it’s still worth knowing which films made the cut.
And the nominees are:
• Black Swan - Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver, Scott Franklin
• Inception - Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan
• The King’s Speech - Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin
• The Social Network - Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca, Céan Chaffin
• True Grit - Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Outstanding British Film
• 127 Hours - Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy, Christian Colson, John Smithson
• Another Year - Mike Leigh, Georgina Lowe
• Four Lions - Chris Morris, Jesse Armstrong, Sam Bain, Mark Herbert, Derrin Schlesinger
• The King’s Speech - Tom Hooper, David Seidler, Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin
• Made in Dagenham - Nigel Cole, William Ivory, Elizabeth Karlsen, Stephen Woolley
Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer
• The Arbor - Director, Producer - Clio Barnard, Tracy O’Riordan
• Exit Through The Gift Shop - Director, Producer – Banksy, Jaimie D’Cruz
• Four Lions - Director/Writer - Chris Morris
• Monsters - Director/Writer – Gareth Edwards
• Skeletons - Director/Writer – Nick Whitfield
• 127 Hours - Danny Boyle
• Black Swan - Darren Aronofsky
• Inception - Christopher Nolan
• The King’s Speech - Tom Hooper
• The Social Network - David Fincher
• Black Swan - Mark Heyman, Andrés Heinz, John McLaughlin
• The Fighter - Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson
• Inception - Christopher Nolan
• The Kids Are All Right - Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg
• The King’s Speech - David Seidler
• 127 Hours - Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy
• The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - Rasmus Heisterberg, Nikolaj Arcel
• The Social Network - Aaron Sorkin
• Toy Story 3 - Michael Arndt
• True Grit - Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Film Not In the English Language
• Biutiful - Alejandro González Iñárritu, Jon Kilik, Fernando Bovaira
• The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - Søren Stærmose, Niels Arden Oplev
• I Am Love - Luca Guadagnino, Francesco Melzi D’Eril, Marco Morabito, Massimiliano Violante
• Of Gods And Men - Xavier Beauvois
• The Secrets In Their Eyes - Mariela Besuievsky, Juan José Campanella
• Despicable Me - Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin
• How To Train Your Dragon - Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois
• Toy Story 3 - Lee Unkrich
• Javier Bardem – Biutiful
• Jeff Bridges - True Grit
• Jesse Eisenberg - The Social Network
• Colin Firth - The King’s Speech
• James Franco - 127 Hours
• Annette Benning - The Kids Are All Right
• Julianne Moore - The Kids Are All Right
• Natalie Portman - Black Swan
• Noomi Rapace - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
• Hailee Steinfeld - True Grit
• Christian Bale - The Fighter
• Andrew Garfield - The Social Network
• Pete Postlethwaite - The Town
• Mark Ruffalo - The Kids Are All Right
• Geoffrey Rush - The King’s Speech
• Amy Adams - The Fighter
• Helena Bonham Carter - The King’s Speech
• Barbara Hershey - Black Swan
• Lesley Manville - Another Year
• Miranda Richardson - Made in Dagenham
• 127 Hours - AR Rahman
• Alice In Wonderland - Danny Elfman
• How to Train Your Dragon - John Powell
• Inception - Hans Zimmer
• The King’s Speech - Alexandre Desplat
• 127 Hours - Anthony Dod Mantle, Enrique Chediak
• Black Swan - Matthew Libatique
• Inception - Wally Pfister
• The King’s Speech - Danny Cohen
• True Grit - Roger Deakins
For the full list of nominees, visit the BAFTA site, here.