Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hand Choreographer JayFunk Shares Doctor Strange Inspirations

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During the Doctor Strange World Premiere, which took place in Hollywood, California last week, Benedict Cumberbatch shared that his brilliant hand movements in the film were choreographed by JayFunk. This immediately intrigued me — not only because I love fingertutting and break dancing — but because these hand movements are so integral to Strange’s “hero pose.” Marvel’s commitment to look outside the box is commendable, and the fact that the Sorcerer Supreme’s magic hand flows were designed by a breakdancer absolutely thrills me. I was able to reach out to JayFunk, who graciously answered some of my questions below. You can see Benedict mention JayFunk in the video below.

1. How did Marvel approach you about working on the film?

One of the Executive producers, Stephen Broussard, contacted me after his assistant saw my first commercial on YouTube from 2011 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyMfpJh3h4A). I met with him and the director, Scott Derrickson, and discussed the possibility of creating a new way to perform magic on-screen.

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2. What influences did you draw upon in designing the hand movements for Strange?

I drew inspiration from a few different worlds: Tutting/fingertutting, my own background in mixed martial artists, and ability activations that I’ve seen in some of my favorite Japanese animes. It was important for me to make sure that it looked like something that could be ancient and universal, but also different from any real art-form.

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3. For anyone unfamiliar, how would you describe “tutting?”

Tutting and Fingertutting are sub-styles of the dance style “Popping”, dating back to the 1970s. It involves creating and manipulating angular shapes with your fingers, hands, and arms. It’s actually pretty interesting that the creator of Fingertutting goes by the name D-Strange. Quite Strange indeed.

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4. What are some of your favorite Strange moves?

I’m gonna have to go with the shield activation. Benedict just looks so badass doing it, I’m super proud of him for taking the time to really make the movements his own. Also, I know it’s not a Strange move, but Tilda’s mandala performance was great fun as well and she looked so confident doing it.

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5. Have you seen the film and if so, what was it like watching your moves become animated, incredible, 3-D effects?

Yes, I was there for the premiere! I worked pretty closely with Stephane Ceretti, our amazing VFX Supervisor, but even that didn’t prepare me for how ridiculous the effects ended up being. All I can say is this: DO NOT pass up those IMAX 3D tickets. You’re not ready lol.

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6. What are some of your favorite moments working on this film?

I have to say, seeing Tilda Swinton’s face light up when she first did her mandala without my direction was a highlight. Also, hanging out every day with Mads Mikkelsen and his “zealots”. I really miss those guys and gals, they were awesome people.

7. How can people best support any current or future projects you are working on?

I’ll leave all my links here, but Twitter and Instagram are probably the best places to stay in touch with me 🙂 Instagram: @jayfunk_jd Twitter: @jayfunk_jd Facebook: facebook.com/jayfunkjd YouTube: youtube.com/jayfunky

Marvel’s Doctor Strange follows the story of the talented neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a tragic car accident, must put ego aside and learn the secrets of a hidden world of mysticism and alternate dimensions. Based in New York City’s Greenwich Village, Doctor Strange must act as an intermediary between the real world and what lies beyond, utilizing a vast array of metaphysical abilities and artifacts to protect the Marvel cinematic universe.

Doctor Strange hits theaters on November 4, 2016.

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