Contributor: Diana Haynes
Benedict Cumberbatch in Nepal – Discover Dr. Strange’s Kathmandu
Nepal has had a publicity boost from Hollywood in recent years with two films, Everest and Doctor Strange, travelling to the country to film. Doctor Strange was a commercial success and received acclaim for its mind-bending visuals and action scenes. Yet despite the magical themes of the story one piece of the film that the filmmakers were determined to ground in reality and authenticity was the character’s Buddhist roots. In this article we will follow in the footsteps of Benedict Cumberbatch in Nepal.
Doctor Strange Director Finds the Authentic Alleys of Kathmandu for Film Scene
Speaking to the Radio Times director Scott Derrickson said “I’ve been all over the world, but there’s no place on the planet like Kathmandu. It is a city with almost no Western influence in it. It is a large city that is so deeply mystical and religious in all operations, and in a most peaceful, beautiful, colourful way.” One of the key scenes in the streets of Kathmandu where Steven Strange first discovers the city was filmed with “300 extras, made up of locals and tourists, along with cows and dogs.”
The city of Kathmandu recognised that the film was trying to accurately depict parts of its culture and according to Movie Pilot allowed the filmmakers to shoot in the Pashupatinath Temple. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the 5th century and non-Hindu visitors are not allowed to enter. The film was granted a high honour to shoot within its walls.
(Blog editor Sandra BK’s tip: Want to discover “old” Kathmandu? Try the neighborhoods of around the Kathmandu Durbar square, like Asan, and the Patan Durbar Square. This is where you will find ancient alleyways like the one depicted in Doctor Strange.)
Derrickson and Cumberbatch Dedicated to Helping Nepal
Marvel’s Cinematic Universe has been a huge success for the company since it started in 2008. This has allowed it to take risks and film in places such as Nepal. One important factor that has led to its success is the strong fan following and this also factored into the reason why Scott Derrickson decided to shoot in Nepal. According to film news site Collider.com Derrickson and Cumberbatch both wanted to film in Nepal to help boost the country’s tourism after the country suffered damage from a devastating earthquake. The film even shot scenes in places that had been damaged in order to help the local areas. The Marvel films have a huge fan base who religiously follow the films and the filmmakers hoped that shooting on location would lead many fans to come visit.
You only have to look at how film studios have licensed out their franchises to different platforms to see why both Derrickson and Cumberbatch want to shine new light on Nepal. High profile Marvel and DC franchises such as Batman have made huge amounts of money outside their box office takings. DC Comics even sold the rights to The Dark Knight Rises slot game which is now appearing on BGT Games, to help reach fans of the genre as well as break new markets. By filming in Nepal the filmmakers automatically put the country in a positive spotlight while giving their fans a chance to discover a new country.
Discover the Sites of Kathmandu Where Doctor Strange was Filmed
If you are planning to visit Nepal in the near future be sure to explore the city of Kathmandu and follow in the footsteps of one of Marvel’s most famous characters. Be sure to visit the ancient temples at the Pashupatinath and the Patan Durbar Square. Like Doctor Strange, you too can find a journey of discovery. For other exotic locales in Nepal check out our Best Exotic Things to do in Kathmandu post.