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“I really wanted to wear a cape”: Jessica Chastain Turned Down Doctor Strange with Benedict Cumberbatch for $252M Box-Office Failure Superhero Movie

“I really wanted to wear a cape”: Jessica Chastain Turned Down Doctor Strange with Benedict Cumberbatch for $252M Box-Office Failure Superhero Movie

The MCU is a juggernaut like nothing else. There are no other film franchises that can match the scale at which it releases projects while ensuring that all of them remain connected to each other. Notable actors like Michael Keaton, Jake Gyllenhaal, and more have become a part of the franchise. But not Jessica Chastain, who said no to Doctor Strange.

The actress known for films like Interstellar, The Martian, and more, was offered a role opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in the film, but she turned it down. When screenwriter C. Robert Cargill got to know about the reason, he said that it was the “coolest rejection ever” for him.

Why Did Jessica Chastain Drop Doctor Strange?

Jessica Chastain
Jessica Chastain

The role of Christine Palmer is played by Rachel McAdams in Doctor Strange and its sequel Doctor Strange 2. However, before McAdams, Marvel Studios was courting Jessica Chastain for the role. However, she wasn’t interested in playing the role of a human love interest in a franchise full of superheroes, aliens, and cool spies.

On the Junkfood Cinema podcast, C. Robert Cargill, the screenwriter for the film stated:

“She’s like, ‘Hey, look, this project sounds awesome, and I would love to do it. But I’m only going to get one shot at being in a Marvel film and becoming a Marvel character, and I trained in ballet, and I really want to wear a cape.’ It’s the coolest rejection ever…She wanted to be in a Marvel movie, but she wanted to be the superhero, not the badass doctor Night Nurse.” 

Read More: “It’s like Dwayne’s Angels”: X-Men Star Jessica Chastain Announces She’s Doing a Movie With The Rock, Emily Blunt, and Nicole Kidman

Jessica Chastain in Dark Phoenix
Jessica Chastain in Dark Phoenix

Chastain did get her wish when she starred in the X-Men film Dark Phoenix (2019) as the alien Vuk who could shapeshift. However, the film was a box office bomb and grossed a meager $252 million on a humongous $200 million production budget. Doctor Strange (2016), on the other hand, was a success at the box office and grossed $677 million globally.

However, Chastain probably did the right thing by starring in Dark Phoenix. At the very least, she got to play a cool alien. Whereas the success of the Doctor Strange films isn’t attributed to Rachel McAdams’ Christine Palmer and neither is her role a notable one in those Benedict Cumberbatch-led Marvel films. However, getting McAdams for the role wasn’t easy either, as per Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson.

Read More: Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange Replaces Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man as Leader of the Avengers in Secret Wars as Kang Reportedly Hunts Him For Creating Incursions?

How Did Marvel Studios Get Rachel McAdams For Doctor Strange

Benedict Cumberbatch and Rachel McAdams in Doctor Strange
Benedict Cumberbatch and Rachel McAdams in Doctor Strange

During a Doctor Strange watch party in 2020, director Scott Derrickson said that he had tried his best to get Rachel McAdams for the role of Christine Palmer. He stated that he knew that as an actress she would be the only one who would be able to sell an authentic reaction to all the fantastical things happening in the film.

He said:

“I fought hard to get Rachel McAdams for this role. I knew that we would believe her reactions to such fantastical things.” 

Read More: Marvel Studios Reportedly Want Spider-Man Director Sam Raimi Back for Doctor Strange 3 Despite Bob Iger Revealing Studio Not in Favor for Sequels After Relentless Criticism

While many back then believed that McAdams wouldn’t reprise her role as Palmer in the sequel, she proved everyone wrong and came back. He role was also expanded upon in the sequel and she got to play a multiversal variant of herself. However, it’s not yet known if she will be there for Doctor Strange 3 since the book on the love story of Stephen Strange and Christine Palmer was effectively closed in the sequel film. Yet, fans hope to see her again.

Doctor Strange and Doctor Strange 2 are streaming on Disney+.

Source: Junkfood Cinema and Twitter

Written by Ishita Chatterjee

A literature graduate who loves sharing her views on everything pop-culture and entertainment. Ishita especially loves dreaming about superheroes and comic books when she isn't day dreaming about them everyday either way.