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Marvel Star Benedict Cumberbatch Took an Unusual 5-Month Detour at 19 That Was ‘A Bit Cult-y’

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British actor Benedict Cumberbatch joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Doctor Strange in 2016. With impressive credits to his name before donning superhero status, Cumberbatch starred in the highly-acclaimed series Sherlock and had just been nominated for an Oscar for his performance in The Imitation Game.

In his late teens, Cumberbatch decided to embark on a somewhat enlightened path that most people his age would probably not consider.

‘Doctor Strange’ Benedict Cumberbatch | D Dipasupil/FilmMagic

‘Sherlock’ joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Cumberbatch hadn’t known much about the character when he signed on with the Marvel franchise. “I wasn’t familiar with Doctor Strange as a child, not at all,” Cumberbatch told The Guardian in 2016. “So it’s been a fast catch-up. But like all comics in their origination, they’re very much tied into the era that they were born in.”

Joining the cast of the MCU, Cumberbatch realized it was a prime opportunity to be part of such a renowned assembly of Hollywood actors.

“I have… in the past, undergone one of the most life-changing moments in my personal life [he became a father in June last year], and also Hamlet, and now I’m here,” the Sherlock star said. “The joy of it is in the contrast. I literally flew off to Kathmandu [where Doctor Strange was partly filmed] two days after we finished Hamlet. It was a massive gear change, but I love what it is to be part of this huge body of work and people. It’s great fun.”

RELATED: How Benedict Cumberbatch Inspired Netflix’s ‘Dracula’

Benedict Cumberbatch the teacher

Speaking with Interview Magazine in 2017, Cumberbatch revealed that he partook in a program at a monastery when he was just 19 years old.

“It was in an exiled Tibetan community, just outside of Darjeeling, on the border. It was a little hill station town,” he shared. “I was one of five teachers who had done a training course. It was extraordinary, but it was quite an isolated experience.”

The Marvel star had worked several jobs to earn the money for the opportunity, which lasted five months.

“You’re not paid for the teaching; you’re paid in experience. You’re surrounded by the monks and their lives,” Cumberbatch explained. “It was a small monastery, and the top floor was the temple.” I was living on the bottom floor, which was pretty damp and had huge spiders. I think it was just near the end of the rainy season; I can’t remember, but it was cold.”

RELATED: Are Tom Holland and Benedict Cumberbatch Friends?

‘Doctor Strange’ finds enlightenment

The Oscar nominee was moved by his surroundings and the spiritual teachers at the monastery. “Nature was ever present; that was gobsmackingly beautiful, as was the spirit and nature and philosophy and way of life of these monks,” Cumberbatch recalled. “The personalities of the monks were louder than any lesson.”

While he was appreciative of the enlightening environment, Cumberbatch acknowledged the harsher aspects of the program which included sleeping “only about four” hours a night.

“Eating, like, porridge and maybe a little stew. That part of the retreat was intense,” he said. “We were with the monks—my god, what discipline they had. It was revelatory. There are these stories and parables and tools with which to channel your focus and meditation and practice, and begin the path to enlightenment.”

Though the actor realizes his experience was a bit extreme, Cumberbatch has no regrets regarding his time at the monastery.

“It was a bit cult-y; there were a few nervous, out-of-the-corner-of-the-eye looks between us Westerners,” the MCU star admitted. “The person who was overseeing us saw that we were really committed, and he also saw that it was just too much. Our busy minds had to be really suppressed. But it was the chance to begin something. I’m so grateful that I had that experience.”

Now a superhero star, Cumberbatch is certainly far from the monastery but clearly holds the lessons he learned during his time there.

RELATED: Benedict Cumberbatch Talks About Being A Fan At the ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Premiere

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Dakota Johnson Says This Beyoncé Lyric Inspires Her Career

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Artists inspire other artists. When Dakota Johnson is feeling down about her prospects, she listens to Beyoncé. Johnson’s latest movie is The High Note. She plays Maggie, an assistant to singer Grace Davis (Tracee Ellis Ross). Johnson said she related to Maggie’s struggle, and also related it to wisdom she found in Beyonce’s music. 

L-R: Zoe Chao and Dakota Johnson | Glen Wilson/Focus Features

RELATED: ‘The High Note’ Sings Because Of Tracee Ellis Ross’ Star Power

Johnson spoke with Harpar’s Bazaar on May 29 about The High Note. The film is now available on VOD platforms for $19.99 for a 48 hour rental. Here’s the Beyoncé connection she found. 

Dakota Johnson learned “diva” can be a misnomer from Beyoncé

In her song “Diva,” Beyoncé sings, “Now a diva is a female version of a hustla.” Johnson knows exactly what she means and experienced the double standard herself in Hollywood.

Beyoncé | Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

RELATED: Beyoncé Lost the Role of This Disney Princess After Refusing to Audition

“Isn’t it a Beyoncé lyric that a diva is a female version of a hustler?” Johnson said. “It really just goes back to the female version of what a man does all the time. In an industry where people are constantly searching fot the next thing and wanting something new and fresh, I think definitely people and talents and projects get overlooked all the time.”

Dakota Johnson doesn’t excuse all diva behavior

Johnson also acknowledges that some divas don’t fit Beyoncé’s definition. She doesn’t excuse that, but she also doesn’t excuse dismissing ambition as diva behavior.

L-R: Dakota Johnson and Tracee Ellis Ross | Glen Wilson/Focus Features

RELATED: Dakota Johnson Says She Became an Actress Thanks to Films Like ‘Notting Hill’: ‘I Loved Those Movies so Much’

“There are definitely ways where somebody could behave as a diva,” Johnson said. “I think it comes down to when a person is not really kind to the people round them and demands things that are a little bit outlandish and out of control in a more narcissistic way. If a woman is successful and straightforward and intelligent and ambitious, that doesn’t make her a diva in a bad way, but also there are some ancient divas that were glorious and incredible and hyper talented.”

Dakota Johnson’s movie ‘The High Note’ reflects Beyoncé’s spirit

In The High Note, Grace has persevered in her career and Maggie won’t take no for an answer. Johnson sees them as divas in the Beyoncé sense.

“For many, many reasons it’s become a societal norm that women should not strive to reach their dreams,” Johnson said. “That’s something that I think is just such a lie. There are so many women who have done incredible superhuman things in the world. Beyond women, any human being should be encouraged to focus and have ambition and discipline and strive to reach their dreams and really become who they want to be come.”

L-R: Dakota Johnson and Tracee Ellis Ross | Glen Wilson/Focus Features

Johnson particularly related to Maggie facing rejection.

With Maggie, I think that it’s just a cool trait that she doesn’t really ever let that get her down. Though it’s painful and it’s a f*cking bummer, but she keeps going because it’s all she has. I definitely have experienced that. I still do all the time. I’ve wanted to have my production company for a long time. There were many people who said, ‘You can’t do it that way’ or ‘That way won’t work’ or ‘You need to do this to get to this place,’ but I really believed that I could do it a different way and I did. I think it’s the same sort of message that Maggie just believes in herself and I do too.

Dakota Johnson, Harper’s Bazaar, 5/29/2020

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The Primary Actors Rumored For Beta Ray Bill in ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’

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Thor: Love and Thunder is shaping up to be one of the most highly-anticipated Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 4 installments. Not only will the God of Thunder likely bid the landscape farewell — leaving Jane Foster’s Mighty Thor to take his place — but a fan-favorite character is also rumored to be joining the movie. 

Beta Ray Bill | Marvel/Disney XD via Getty images)
BETA RAY BILL

While director Taika Waititi has not confirmed Beta Ray Bill’s significance to the upcoming movie, he has not denied the character’s rumored presence either. Fans have been quick to assume that the character will debut, even if at the tale end for latter narrative purposes. He may make an end-credits scene appearance, signaling a future role in the landscape at large, or play a primary or secondary villain (turned hero if depicted canonically). Yet, who are the actors rumored to be taking on the role? 

1. Christian Bale will play a villain in ‘Thor: Love and Thunder.’ Is Beta Ray Bill a villain?

Christian Bale will reportedly take on a villain in Thor: Love and Thunder. In the comics, Beta Ray Bill starts out as a villain; he appears to be a baddie upon his introduction in The Mighty Thor #337. In the comics, Thor and Beta Ray Bill’s first interaction is one involving combat, and Beta Ray Bill defeats Thor. 

Not only does Beta Ray Bill defeat Thor in a fight, Beta Ray Bill is able to wield Thor’s hammer during the combat, proving that he is worthy of Mjolnir…and also that he is not one to be mistaken for a villainous threat (more like a heroic force to be reckoned with). 

RELATED: Evidence Suggests Christian Bale Will Play Gorr the God Butcher in ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’

Though Valkyrie actress Tessa Thompson confirmed that Christian Bale would join the MCU as a villain, one shouldn’t put it past her, Waititi or Feige to throw MCU fans for a loop, allowing Bale to be a villain for a moment or two before segueing into his more heroic, albeit unorthodox narrative. Thus, Christian Bale is still an option for the part. Yet, he’s not the only name on the table. And, he could be more likely to play a one-and-done baddie, as is often the case when the MCU snags major actors for villainous roles.

2. Liam Hemsworth could join his brother in the MCU 

According to past reports from We Got This Covered (WGTC), Marvel Studios is eyeing Chris Hemsworth’s younger brother, Liam Hemsworth, for a major role alongside the God of Thunder. Liam Hemsworth is well-known for his starring role in The Hunger Games as Gale Hawthorne, yet he has also appeared in Killerman, The Last Song, Isn’t It Romantic, Paranoia, Independence Day: Resurgence, and more. 

RELATED: Liam Hemsworth to Join His Brother Chris Hemsworth in the MCU?

While Liam Hemsworth boasts a diverse portfolio, several of his major roles fall under the action/sci-fi/fantasy umbrella, making him a perfect pick for the MCU. And, considering the brotherly dynamic that Beta Ray Bill and Thor go onto boast, what better than snagging Chris Hemsworth’s actual brother for the part? 

WGTC relied on the same sources who knew Paramount was rebooting Transformers and that National Treasure 3 was on the horizon when reporting the news that Liam Hemsworth could play Beta Ray Bill. What would be a better, more apropos way to send off an actor and a character who has worked to define the landscape since its early years? Especially if Liam Hemsworth will have a presence in later installments; fans would see the older brother passing the torch to his younger brother — on and off the screen.

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Taylor Swift Attacks Donald Trump: Martha Hunt and More Celebrities Praising Her Message

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After years of being criticized for not taking a stance politically, Taylor Swift has spent the last couple of years fighting for what she believes in. Beginning with an endorsement during the 2018 midterm elections, the singer-songwriter made it known far and wide that she’s a Democrat.

While her song “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince” points to her dislike of Donald Trump’s administration, Swift has mostly refrained from name-dropping the 45th president of the U.S. That is, until now. Check out her tweet on Trump’s response to George Floyd’s death, and the notable celebrities supporting her.

Martha Hunt

Taylor Swift and Martha Hunt during New York Fashion Week on September 9, 2016 | Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for Tommy Hilfiger

RELATED: Martha Hunt Calls Taylor Swift’s Concert Special ‘Just Heavenly’: How Long Have They Been Friends?

Model Martha Hunt and Swift have a friendship that dates back several years. They’ve remained close, even as Swift drifted apart from another member of their friend group: Karlie Kloss (who, as the sister-in-law of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has a reason to stay out of this fight).

Hunt replied to Swift’s message on Twitter, “This! Trump has continued to encourage an environment for radicalized racism as a white supremacist… What did he expect? How much brazen racism can people take peacefully? He wants a race war and asked for killings last night.”

Ben Platt

RELATED: The 3 Real-Life Politicians Who Shaped Ben Platt’s Payton in ‘The Politician’

Actor Ben Platt is, like Swift, also a singer and songwriter. He got his start on Broadway at a young age before making his way into film and TV with the Pitch Perfect series. At present, he stars in the Netflix series The Politician, so he knows a thing or two about the good and bad in our leadership.

Platt’s simply responded to Swift on Twitter, “f*ck yeah.” This came after his above tweet. Though it doesn’t include Trump’s name, Platt makes it clear that he’s referring to the current president, who he calls “vile, unintelligent & malicious,” and says we need to “vote to replace him or personally perpetuate evil & wrong.”

Debra Messing

RELATED: What is ‘Will & Grace’ Star Debra Messing’s Net Worth and How Much Does She Make Per Episode?

Another politically active actor is Debra Messing. The Will & Grace star is also known for her main roles in TV series such as Smash and The Mysteries of Laura. Like Swift, she is unapologetic about her opinions and even co-hosts a podcast, The Dissenters, in which they speak to those making a difference.

In response to Swift’s Twitter message, Messing quote-tweeted her and added, “THANK YOU for using your voice @taylorswift13. #Trump is a dangerous, virulently racist, unstable man. Pray for our country.”

Alyssa Milano

RELATED: Alyssa Milano: How She Became Famous, Her Net Worth, & Her Latest Controversial Statements

As far as politically active actors go, Alyssa Milano must be mentioned. While appearing in such series as Netflix’s Insatiable, the former Who’s the Boss? and Charmed star has used her platform to speak about a variety of issues, while throwing her full support behind presumed Democratic candidate Joe Biden in 2020.

Like Swift, Milano frequently deals with people, including former friends, trying to tear her down. So it’s no surprise to see her support the musician here, replying, “Thank you for using your voice for good” to the tweet in question.

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