Being a Master is his natural calling
British actor Benedict Wong says he's 'elated' to play one of the first Asian characters in Marvel's cinematic universe
For Benedict Wong, who plays Wong, a Master of the Mystic Arts, in Doctor Strange, making a Marvel film was not only a great experience but also on his "bucket list".
"It's just fantastic to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe where I play one of the first Asian characters. So, I was absolutely elated," says the 45-year-old British actor.
"It's been on my bucket list to be in a Marvel film and now I'm taking it off, proudly."
Wong admits that he was an avid fan of the Spider-Man comics growing up, and to this day owns several; however, "Doctor Strange" was not on his radar.
"Doctor Strange was one comic character that I wasn't that aware of when I was first approached about the film," he says.
"But doing my research and then seeing that there was a character called Wong, there was a natural calling that I had to do this for my ancestors."
In the superhero film that stars fellow Brit Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular Sorcerer Supreme, Wong plays a sorcerer involved in the training of young disciples.
"Wong is very serious about his job. He is the keeper and protector of the library of mystical books," adds the actor who has appeared in Hollywood blockbusters such as The Martian (2015) and Prometheus (2012).
Now showing in cinemas, the story follows 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, Strange is forced to look for alternative healing, and hope, in an unlikely place - a mysterious enclave known as Kamar-Taj in Nepal.
Under the tutelage of the Sorceress Supreme, aka the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), and Master Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Strange quickly learns that this is not just a centre for healing but also the frontline 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.
Walking onto a Marvel set for the first time, Wong felt as though he had been "transported".
"You walk on and the attention to detail that the production designers have created in this world is amazing.
"It's just like you've stepped into Nepal and there you are training with everybody. Everybody's doing their katas in this incredible backdrop."
Together with Cumberbatch, Wong will be joining The Avengers in the highly anticipated Avengers: Infinity War, which is scheduled for a 2018 release.
The third Avengers film is now in pre-production stage and how Wong will feature is anyone's guess.
For now, the actor feels that audiences will find Doctor Strange not only interesting from an origin story standpoint but exciting on other levels as well.
"What's interesting is that this film is the introduction to Dr Strange and how he becomes the Sorcerer Supreme," Wong says.
"How he changes from an arrogant, gifted surgeon who's lost everything to discovering that he has this innate ability in the mystic arts and has been given the power to protect Earth against extra-dimensional forces."
He adds: "What's also fascinating about Strange is that we're into this other world and there are things that we can't see through the naked eye.
"There's something exciting about tapping into this world. That's going to be fascinating to see on screen."
It's been on my bucket list to be in a Marvel film and now I'm taking it off, proudly.
- Actor Benedict Wong