When you think of Marvel’s Doctor Strange, a reality-bending, cosmos-shifting neurosurgeon, do you also happen to think of Anthony Bourdain? You know, the late chef-turned-writer behind travel television classics No Reservations and Parts Unknown? That’s the case for Michael Waldron, writer on Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness, who says he took inspiration from both Bourdain and Indiana Jones for his first Marvel film.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Waldron (whose first Marvel project was writing Disney Plus’ Loki series) said he looked at Bourdain as an unlikely equal to Strange when it came to grappling with the world around him.
“I gravitated toward [travel documentarian and chef] Anthony Bourdain,” Waldron said. “Strange is an elitist as a neurosurgeon and a sorcerer. Anthony Bourdain was a man of the people, but there was that intense intellect. You always felt like he could eviscerate anybody with his words at any time. But yet, Anthony Bourdain never really punched down. That was the first ingredient in the stew for Doctor Strange.”
Bourdain, who died in 2018, traveled to numerous locations around the world as part of his work on No Reservations and Parts Unknown. Rising from a career as a chef and writer, Bourdain interviewed countless individuals from each locale in a blunt, yet meaningful manner that earned him distinction from other travel-focused programs. A documentary about his life and career is due out in theaters on July 16.
Waldron also discussed how Harrison Ford’s iconic role as Indiana Jones influenced the physicality of Strange’s next adventure.
“He’s Indiana Jones in a cloak to me,” Waldron says. “He’s a hero who can take a punch. That’s what made those Harrison Ford heroes so great. Those guys get their asses kicked. Look at Stephen Strange in the first movie. He’s really getting beat up but he’s very capable and everything. I can tell you that it’s a ride…very Sam Raimi. The film is incredibly visually thrilling. John Mathieson, our D.P., who shot Gladiator and Logan—I think the look of it is going to be unlike anything you’ve seen in the MCU before.”
Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness hasn’t been immune from a major crew change, though. Original director Scott Derrickson (who also directed the first film) left the project in January 2020 following disagreements with Marvel, co-writer C. Robert Cargill told CinemaBlend. Derrickson was replaced by Sam Raimi.
Joseph Knoop is a writer/producer/Bourdain boy to the day he dies…for IGN.