Benedict Cumberbatch Says Tibetan Monks Inspired Him To Be Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange

While many comic book fans would quiver over the opportunity to literally be Doctor Strange (in the movies, at least), Benedict Cumberbatch never really had it in his plans. "It’s not something that I had on my bucket list, as they would say," says Cumberbatch.

It wasn't until Cumberbatch, now 39, spent a summer teaching English to Tibetan monks 20 years ago that he saw any sort of fantastic and mystical worlds. "It was an unfair exchange," the British actor told EW. “Basically, they taught me reams, fathoms, more than I could possibly begin [to teach them]. I became interested in the meeting point between Western logic and Eastern mysticism.”

Two decades later, Cumberbatch found himself interested and investigating Marvel's Sorcerer Supreme. It was at this point that Cumberbatch realized Stephen Strange's tale, being an injured physician and coming to accept the reality of supernatural forces and alternate dimension, would be one that he wanted the chance to explore.

“I knew it was on [Marvel's] slate, I knew it was coming up, so I got invested in it and I was interested,” he says. “What happens here in this origin story is, Strange realizes the power he has within his body is not about his body. It’s something that’s beyond the causal-temporal-linear-reality that he knows so well as a [surgeon]. We come from this very causal world into this mystical, magical world of other realms and sorcery.”

Doctor Strange hits theaters November 4, 2016.