“Chiwetel Ejiofor is so good and complex in everything he’s done,” says ‘Doctor Strange’ director Scott Derrickson

“Doctor Strange” is out in theaters Friday.

Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Mordo in Marvel's Doctor Strange

When it came to casting the character Mordo for “Doctor Strange,” the 14th film in the Marvel comic universe, director Scott Derrickson only had one name in mind.

“I wanted to find an actor who could complement Benedict as Doctor Strange and who could work at the same deep levels as Benedict. Chiwetel Ejiofor was the one.”

The film follows an arrogant, but brilliant neurosurgeon, Dr. Stephen Strange, (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose life changes forever after a horrific car accident robs him of the use of his hands.  When traditional medicine fails him, he is forced to look for healing, and hope, in an unlikely place—a mysterious enclave known as Kamar-Taj. It’s there he meets his mentor Mordo (Ejiofor), who introduces him to The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), the head teacher for the organization.

“As soon as Chiwetel Ejiofor came up we all wanted him—it was a one-conversation event. Chiwetel is so good and so complex in everything he’s done. He’s always very nuanced,” continues Derrickson.

Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson

A BAFTA award–winning actor, Ejiofor has starred in several projects on stage and screen and was most recently seen in Jon Hillcoat’s crime thriller “Triple 9.” “Doctor Strange” marks his first Marvel film and for the actor, the “element of wonder” was the highlight of making the unique fantastical film, which follows a super hero, vested with powerful magical powers and skills.

“Some of the sequences that we’ve done and that we’ve achieved have been so intricate and so complicated,” Ejiofor shares. “For actors, of course, there’s that moment when you’re like the last element of this and you walk onto a set and are genuinely thrilled to be there. That’s happened a few times on this film for me.”

Derrickson, who helmed the creepy horror flick “Sinister” and “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” brings his eye for the supernatural and paranormal to immerse audiences in the worlds of magic and alternate dimensions.  The visual effects are dazzling as the scenes transition from one reality to another and into two, three, four dimensional worlds.Karl Mordo (Chiwetel) and the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton)

Like Doctor Strange, Ejiofor’s character Mordo was an apprentice of The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), who also learned the mystic arts and he acts as a mentor and best friend to Stephen Strange in the film. A good guy, he has already gone through the journey that Strange is currently experiencing.The Moet British Independent Film Awards 2015 - Red Carpet Arrivals

“The way that Mordo is written, he is somebody who’s very loyal, very engaged and very powerful and has a great physical energy. In the way that he presents himself there is a sort of inner calm, a kind of Buddhist energy, like a sense of coming from a place of peace and focus,” Ejiofor continues. “That is the spirit he brings to his interactions with people. But also, when things become difficult, that’s the spirit he brings to combat and to fighting.”

The film also stars Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen as the villain Kaecilius, Rachel McAdams as Stephen Strange’s colleague and love interest and was shot in several locations around the world, including London, New York, Hong Kong and Kathmandu, Nepal.

“The overall design of the film is remarkable,” continues Ejiofor. “I haven’t done a Marvel film before, so I don’t know how the size and the scale and the intricacies of these sets compare to other ones, but certainly for me I was kind of completely mind-blown by the scale of it and the craftsmanship. You’re just part of it and I love that, especially with something like this that requires a bit of a leap of imagination.”

“Doctor Strange” is out in theaters Friday

Pictured: Chiwetel Ejiofor,  director Scott Derrickson, Tilda Swinton, Photo Credit:Jay Maidment

Samantha Ofole-Prince is an entertainment journalist who covers industry-specific news. Follow her on twitter @SamanthaOfole

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