Benedict Wong supports Xochitl Gomez in more ways than one.
Whether it was on the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness set or during the current press tour, Wong has been there for Gomez every step of the way and most recently stood up for her amid online harassment.
The Doctor Strange sequel has been banned in a number of foreign countries due to the film’s minimum amount of LGBTQ + content, and since the passing moment is tied to Gomez’s character, America Chavez, anonymous trolls decided to target her for the creative decision. But Wong, who’s returning for his sixth Marvel Cinematic Universe appearance as Stephen Strange’s friend and current Sorcerer Supreme, also named Wong, remains excited for the world to meet Gomez and her multiverse-traveling superhero.
“For someone so young to join the MCU at 14 years of age, full credit to Xochitl. As anyone would be, there was a kind of rabbit in the headlights at first, but she’s grown and grown into this amazing character that everyone is going to see, ”Wong tells The Hollywood Reporter at the press junket for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
In that recent conversation with THRGomez also sheds a bit more light on Chavez and her casting process, which included a rewrite of the character.
Benedict, this is your sixth Marvel movie, and it’s Xochitl’s first. What’s the best advice you can offer her as far as navigating the MCU experience?
Benedict Wong: I was just there for you, wasn’t I?
Xochitl Gomez: Yes! You were my support.
Wong: But for someone so young to join the MCU at 14 years of age, full credit to Xochitl. As anyone would be, there was a kind of a rabbit in the headlights at first, but she’s grown and grown into this amazing character that everyone is going to see.
Xochitl, what are you permitted to say about America Chavez at this point?
Gomez: She’s amazing, obviously! (Laughs.) She can punch and kick star-shaped portals that allow her to travel between universes. I mean, that’s pretty cool! She has some trust issues, but throughout this film, we get to see her grow and learn to accept people.
Did you have one of those six-month audition processes?
Gomez: I did my first audition in February 2020, and then six months later, in August, I got my second audition, which was for a younger version of the character. So I was like, “Oh my gosh, I might have a shot at this!” So I did some stunt training for a full month, every other day for a couple of hours, and then I did the test. And two days later, I found out I was cast. It all went pretty quick!
While you were filming, did the two of you know about all of the surprises in the movie? Or did they hold some of them back for a while?
Wong: They certainly held a few things back.
Gomez: Yeah, for sure. We know some stuff.
Wong: Yeah, but you never know it until you see it at the premiere.
Gomez: Yeah, I’ll feel suspicious even at the premiere. It’s like, “Is it really in the cut? ”
Wong: I don’t know if I’ll make the end of the cut. You never know. Fingers crossed.
Wong & Gomez: (Laugh.)
Gomez: Fingers crossed, guys!
Did the two of you give Cumberbatch a hard time whenever he played the Doctor Strange with a ponytail?
Gomez: (Laughs.) Yeah, I did! One of the first comments I said to him was, “Wow, a ponytail!” And he was a little like, “Oh no!” But then I was like, “We’re twins now! We’ve both got ponytails. “
So Benedict, Strange didn’t listen to Wong in Spider-Man: No Way Homeand he screwed up the universe.
Wong: Once again! The voice of reason keeps telling him…
Is there going to be a reckoning between them at some point?
Wong: I think so. All these actions lead to consequences in this movie. He’s been warned that we don’t tamper with the natural law. We defend it. Wong told him not to cast a spell, and now all these parallel realities have cracked open. So all these new characters will fall out.
Interview edited for length and clarity.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opens in theaters Friday.