Sam Raimi on Doctor Strange 2 and His Much Longer First Cut

With Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opening in theaters around the world this weekend, I recently got to speak with director Sam Raimi about making the highly anticipated sequel. During the brief but fun interview, Raimi talked about how modern technology like Zoom helped him make the film and how the cameos were done “to titillate the fans and surprise them, to make them gasp, to give them, not exactly what they expected, but something that they would love. ”

In addition, Raimi talked about what the editing process with Marvel is like, how he expects two or three deleted scenes will be on the eventual Blu-ray, and his first cut of his film, which ran two hours and forty minutes. The finished film runs about two hours and five minutes and includes a lot of the additional photography done late last year, so Marvel definitely has a lot of deleted scenes from this film. The big question is how many we will get to see…

COLLIDER VIDEO OF THE DAY

Check out what Sam Raimi had to say in the player above, or you can read our conversation below.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Benedict Wong as Wong, Rachel McAdams as Dr. Christine Palmer, and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Karl Mordo. Also, along for the ride is Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch and Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez.

COLLIDER: You haven’t directed a feature since Oz the Great and Powerful. I’m curious, how close did you come to directing something else before this and after Oz?

SAM RAIMI: I did not come close to direct anything after that. I needed time away after that to get a hungry again, learned about filmmaking, taking some lessons, do some gardening.

Avocados.

RAIMI: Absolutely. Among other things. Yeah.

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The tools you had to make this film are so different than the Spider-Man movies you made. What technology did you have access to on this film that you wish you had access to when you were making the Spider-Man movies?

RAIMI: We had to make a lot of the tools to make the tools back in the day of Spider-Man. John Dykstra, in fact said to me, “Sam, the tools do not exist to do what we’re talking about, making a CGI Spider-Man. But if we start now, we can develop the technologies so that they’ll be ready for us when we need them in a year and a half. ” And I went, “That’s the coolest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. Let’s do that.” And we did, and the technologies were there for us.


So certainly that has become much easier now. There’s whole companies that are set up to make CGI characters. They’ve got great new programs in place. The pipelines are laid. So the newest tools, I think technologically that helped me were actually the telecommunication tools, Zoom, for instance. To be able to speak to a hundred different crew members around the world at the same time to share a storyboard, I could have my storyboard artists put up a storyboard to explain something to us, or I could have the art department bring up a design so that we could look at it with the director of photography and talk about how we’d light it.

Or I could, on the same call, have my editor show a clip of a scene that was partially edited so we could really understand where this insert would go between which two shots. That tool is incredibly helpful and a great new advance in movie making.


I know this movie has cameos. We do not have to get into the specifics, but I am curious, was there any cameo or Easter egg that you put in specifically to amuse you?

RAIMI: No, not really. This was all done to titillate the fans and surprise them, to make them gasp, to give them, not exactly what they expected, but something that they would love.

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I’m obsessed with the editing process because it’s ultimately where it all comes together. I know that Marvel has a very hands on approach to the editing process. It’s a different process than perhaps you’ve done in the past. And I’m just curious, what was that relationship like and that back and forth working with them?


RAIMI: They were very supportive of myself and my editors Bob Murawski and Tia Nolan driving the train. They had their notes, they had their suggestions, and they were really good because they’re a company that primarily just looks out for the integrity of their characters. So, the notes really come from a great place. It’s not about making more money for the studio. It’s about, “No, this is what Dr. Strange would say. No, this is what happened in the last Avengers movie and this is contrary to that. We have to be on the same page. “Their notes come from a really great fan place.

I know that this movie is definitely going to have deleted scenes. Can you tease for fans, even though we have not seen the movie yet, how many deleted scenes you might want to release down the road?

RAIMI: I’m trying to remember what Marvel is including in the deleted scenes. It’s really going to be their decision, but I know that there are at least two or three deleted scenes that will be included. I do not know the full extent of them though.

I know the movie’s like two hours, five minutes, two, 10, I do not know the exact thing. Did you have a much longer cut that you brought to that? I’m always curious about first cuts and that kind of stuff.

RAIMI: Well, the first cut was I actually do not remember the length of it. It was probably like two hours and 40 minutes, and it slowly came down even though we did the reshoots. We took out material even though the reshoots went in. So, it slowly got down to about two hours and five minutes is the total.


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