We recently interviewed Transparent’s Amy Landecker for our Random Roles feature, and during that conversation, the actor mentioned she had a good story about her role in Doctor Strange. Unfortunately, thanks to Marvel’s deadly serious non-disclosure agreements, she wasn’t really allowed to say anything about it at the time. But she promised us that once she was permitted, she would give The A.V. Club the inside story or what did—or, more accurately, didn’t—end up happening with her role in in the Marvel movie. We got in touch with her this past week, and she finally revealed all the glamorous details about her performance in the no-doubt blockbuster film.
Amy Landecker: I have to preface this by saying I was at an event and someone said that I was in the credits. So, it’s possible that I’m still in this film. But to my knowledge, I was cut out of this film. But I don’t know. [Laughs.] So basically, the way Marvel works is, you don’t get to read the script at all. And I did audition for this part, so I knew it was a doctor in a surgical kind of scene, and I knew it was with Benedict, and she flirts with him a little and it was kind of fun. And there was a take where they had me put a mask on. But I thought that was just to kind of see what I looked like in a mask. Which is one of those funny Hollywood things, as if it was going to change whether or not I got cast. [Laughs.]
But you know, I leave the audition, and I’m told that they want me for the part and it’s three weeks in England. So my assumption is there’s more to the part than what I had auditioned with, which is a very short scene. They don’t really give you any details. They’re really secretive. So I get to England, and I’m there a week—a few days before everybody else, because they were shooting in another country. They said they needed me there to take lessons in brain surgery and to do my hair and makeup test. But it turned out that, when I get there, I’m in a mask and scrubs and a surgical cap. The entire film. There will not be a moment in the film where I do not have the mask on my face. So I’m finding out… “Okay, so my performance is my eyes. Okay. I’m humble. Okay, I’m still in a Marvel movie. It’s still really exciting.” And the costume designer joked that everyone at Comic-Con was going to be wearing scrubs and wanting to be my doctor person. [Laughs.] We were laughing at the lack of choices. The big choice was that I got to change caps from one scene to another scene.
AVC: Oh, joy.
AL: Yeah. So then, they get the [surgery] class for me where I’m supposed to learn. And they’re like, “Oh no, you’re an anesthesiologist. You’re not actually a surgeon. So you don’t really participate in the surgery, and you sit off to the side at this console and you sort of just push buttons.” So now I’m like, okay, great, I’m in England. It took about five minutes to do my hair and makeup test and learn how to perform surgery. And I waited until everyone came. And yeah, it was really fun. And Benedict Cumberbatch is super lovely. And sexy. And kind. And it was fun doing this little scene with him.
But. [Laughs.] The second part of the shoot, Transparent was having a premiere at the White House, and I found out that I had no lines in the second scene at all. So I asked them, “Is it possible to not be in this second scene, since I have no lines at all? I’m just sitting there with my back to the surgery, mostly. And maybe someone with blue eyes could sit in, and they would never know if it was me or not.” [Laughs.] And they were very gracious and kind and let me out of the second half of the film.
I couldn’t figure out why I was invited in the first place. I was like, “What am I doing here? They flew someone from LA. I feel like someone local could have easily played this.” So it turned out that the director was a really big A Serious Man fan. And Michael Stuhlberg was in that second scene. So, the whole thing was kind of a fun “let’s get Michael Stuhlberg and Amy back together” in Doctor Strange. And then I got a call that I was edited out of the film. Now I guess may not be true if I’m still in the credits. I don’t know. I haven’t seen it yet. So that was…now everyone’s asking me about Doctor Strange and what part I play. You sign an NDA and you can’t talk about anything. I keep saying to people, “Just don’t get too excited about it.” [Laughs.] Like, my whole family is excited. People have tweeted, like, “Amy Landecker with Rachel McAdams and Tilda Swinton. The women of Dr. Strange.” I’m like…I am not one of the women of Doctor Strange. [Laughs.]
AVC: Yeah. You’re two blue eyes of Doctor Strange.
AL: Exactly. That’s it. But proudly, my boyfriend made me laugh in the middle of the night in London when I was like, “What am I doing here?” And he just said, “Well, we’ll do a sequel where she’s a superhero named Anna Sthesia. And she’s, like, committing crime and says, ‘Count to ten backwards.’” He made me laugh so hard that I decided that the whole thing was worth it just to have this silly thing. Maybe I’ll do as a Funny Or Die video some day. And I want to have Bradley [Whitford] play Doctor Strange and then have my friend Krysten Ritter be my sister, Amnesia. And I want to do an entire Marvel spoof of these characters in the surgical room.
AVC: if you’re going to do that Funny Or Die video, you should definitely make sure they fly out Benedict Cumberbatch for three weeks to just be in one second of the thing with you.
AL: [Laughs.] Totally. Wouldn’t it be great if I could pull that off? I feel like I could get, like, James Corden to coordinate that.
AVC: I bet you could, too.
AL: I want Benedict to walk through with a mask on.
AVC: Exactly. One second of the shot.
AL: So, hopefully I’ll get to do something else for Marvel. A little more intricate one day. What are you going to do, you know? You’re not going to say no to them. I was very excited about it. But it was not exactly as thrilling as I was hoping it might be. And I still think it’s hysterical when everyone wants to know, “What character from the comic book might I be playing?” Like, umm… [Laughs.]
AVC: That’s an unfortunate superhero experience. Maybe when we speak again it’ll be about the completed Funny Or Die video.
AL: I’ll talk to you soon. Next time something insane happens.
AVC: We should just become your go-to for anytime something ridiculous happens to you.
AL: [Laughs.] I think there will be quite a bit of that. I’ll let you know.