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Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson exits over ‘creative differences’

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Scott Derrickson with Benedict Cumberbatch and Tilda SwintonImage copyright
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Scott Derrickson with Benedict Cumberbatch and Tilda Swinton promoting Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson has left the sequel over “creative differences” with Marvel.

Derrickson made the original 2016 film starring Benedict Cumberbatch and had been due to deliver Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in 2021.

There’s speculation that Derrickson and Marvel boss Kevin Feige disagreed about how scary the follow-up should be.

The director, whose credits include The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Sinister, had pledged “the first scary MCU film”.

He made the comments at San Diego Comic Con in July, where Feige swiftly clarified that it would still be suitable for teenage viewers. “It’s gonna be PG-13 and you’re going to like it!” he added.

Feige has since said it would not be a horror film, and that any scary sequences would be like those made by Steven Spielberg in films like Indiana Jones and Gremlins.

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Cumberbatch and Derrickson filming the first Doctor Strange movie

Every Marvel film has been rated PG-13 in the US, meaning some material may be unsuitable for pre-teenagers.

Derrickson wrote on Thursday: “Marvel and I have mutually agreed to part ways on Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness due to creative differences. I am thankful for our collaboration and will remain on as EP [executive producer].”

In a statement to Variety, the studio said: “Marvel Studios and Scott Derrickson have amicably parted ways on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness due to creative differences. We remain grateful to Scott for his contributions to the MCU.”

The first Doctor Strange film, which co-starred Tilda Swinton and Rachel McAdams, made $678m (£519m) at box offices worldwide.

Other directors who have dropped out

While a film’s directors were once all powerful, replacing film-makers has become more common in recent years as the figures who control a franchise seek to ensure they have a director who shares their vision.

Directors have been fired and hired for Star Wars and James Bond movies as well as comic book adaptations.

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Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot: Thor’s loss was Wonder Woman’s gain

  • Patty Jenkins dropped out of directing Thor 2 because she couldn’t fully get behind Marvel’s script. As the first woman slated to direct a studio-backed big-budget superhero franchise film, she also knew that a flop could have big ramifications. “If I do it, and it’s what I think it’s gonna be, I can’t help the fact that it will represent women directors everywhere, and then that’s going to be bad for everybody,” she told IndieWire. She went on to have a smash with DC’s Wonder Woman.
  • Shaun of the Dead’s Edgar Wright left Marvel’s Ant-Man after a dispute over the script, after he and collaborator Joe Cornish had worked on it – on and off – for eight years. “I wanted to make a Marvel movie but I don’t think they really wanted to make an Edgar Wright movie,” the director later explained to Variety.

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Phil Lord and Christopher Miller with the cast of Solo: A Star Wars Story in an early promotional photo

  • Directing duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller left Star Wars spin-off Solo mid-production in 2017, with the franchise’s head honcho Kathleen Kennedy saying they had “different creative visions”. Ron Howard stepped in and steered it to a lukewarm reception that led Lucasfilm to shelve other spin-offs.
  • Also in 2017, Jurassic World’s Colin Trevorrow dropped out of Star Wars: Episode IX because he was “heading in a direction that many of us didn’t feel was really quite where we wanted it to go”, as Kennedy later put it. JJ Abrams returned to take the tiller and The Rise of Skywalker was released in December.

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Cary Joji Fukunaga with James Bond stars Lea Seydoux and actor Daniel Craig

  • In 2018, Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting mastermind Danny Boyle dropped out of the next Bond film in a dispute over the script, with rumours suggesting he wanted to kill off Daniel Craig’s 007. His place was filled by Cary Joji Fukunaga and the film got delayed by six months. Fans will get to see the results when No Time To Die is released in April.
  • Dexter Fletcher left Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody over “creative differences” in 2014, only to be called back to retake the reins three years later when replacement Bryan Singer was fired in the middle of filming for “unreliable behaviour”. It went on to be nominated for the Oscar for best picture, and win four more including best actor for Rami Malek.

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Coronavirus: The Archers to reflect global outbreak in May

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The Archers

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The Radio 4 soap centres on life in rural England

The BBC has revealed that its long-running BBC Radio 4 soap The Archers will have its first coronavirus-related storyline in early May.

Recording is typically done weeks in advance of broadcast, meaning writers have so far been unable to reflect the rapidly evolving pandemic on the show.

Producers said they wanted listeners to be able “to go to Ambridge in the usual way for as long as possible” .

Episodes from 4 May will reflect the coronavirus outbreak in Ambridge.

Producers said the soap will feature fewer interacting characters “sharing more of their private thoughts with the listener” – a reflection of the social distancing taking place across the UK.

Tough measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus across the UK, including a ban on public gatherings of more than two people and the closure of shops selling non-essential goods, were introduced last week.

The number of people who have died with the virus in the UK has reached 1,228 – an increase of 209 since Saturday.

Temporary changes to The Archers will see the show cut back to four episodes a week and a shorter weekend omnibus.

Voice actors will record the forthcoming episodes from their homes, rather than busy studios, in order to protect the numerous cast and crew.

Jeremy Howe, editor of The Archers – which has been running for 70 years – said the production team had “worked tirelessly” to keep the show on air and reflect the current global crisis.

He added: “Whilst coronavirus might be coming to Borsetshire, listeners can still expect The Archers to be an escape, and the residents to be bickering and as playful and witty as ever.

“The Archers will sound different and will be simpler, but I think keeping the show running and giving us all an opportunity to hear from beloved characters will be a treat loyal listeners will want and need.”



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Coronavirus: YouTube stars urge fans to stay at home

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A montage of YouTube stars

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KSI, DanTDM, Anastacia Kingsnorth and Caspar Lee appear in the video

More than 100 YouTube stars have recorded a video message urging their fans to “stay home” during the coronavirus outbreak.

The video is introduced by entertainer JJ Olatunji, known online as KSI, who has more than 21 million subscribers on the video clip platform.

“We’re here looking to spread awareness on the UK government’s current advice to stay at home,” he says.

The 20-minute video will be posted on YouTube at 16:00 BST.

As well as YouTube stars, footballer Rio Ferdinand, singer Jess Glynne, and Love Island narrator Iain Stirling are among well-known faces to appear.

The idea for the montage came from the Sidemen, a group of British video-makers, which KSI is part of.

Their joint channel has 7.6 million subscribers on YouTube.

The group says any advertising revenue earned from the video will be “donated to the NHS”.



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‘Memes should be archived in a museum’

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Internet memes are being widely circulated as people around the world are staying indoors.

Memes, a type of media that spreads and goes viral online, are often amusing but could they have broader cultural significance?

Should an image of a woman shouting at a cat or a hefty sheep be archived in a museum? Arran Rees from the University of Leeds thinks so.

Produced and edited: Ian Casey

Camera: James Wignall



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