Benedict Cumberbatch has become the latest Marvel star to weigh in on Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit against Disney. The Doctor Strange star was busy promoting his upcoming western, The Power of the Dog when he was asked how he feels about the legal battle between Johansson and Disney. While Cumberbatch didn’t expressively support the Black Widow star, he didn’t criticize Johansson either. Cumberbatch maintained a neutral position without taking any sides.
It’s understandable, considering no one wants to be in the bad graces of The Mouse. However, Cumberbatch did feel sad about how Disney attacked Johansson after she filed the lawsuit. Disney made remarks on Johansson’s character, calling her “selfish” and addressed her attempt to sue as “especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Here is what Benedict Cumberbatch told The Hollywood Reporter when asked to give his two cents on the matter.
“It’s sad what’s going on between the lawyers. Just the verbiage and the accusations of, ‘Put it in a global pandemic context.’ The whole thing’s just a bit of a mess. We’re trying to understand what the revenue streams should be for artists that contribute to the billion-dollar business that is Disney. And it has to be contractualized. How does an artist’s normal compensation with box office bonuses, how does it work? It’s a new paradigm, and it’s a very complex one. No one saw this coming, and no one should use hindsight to say, ‘Well, it should have been done.’ That was the first of these films that was going to get a cinematic release during the pandemic and got stalled and stalled and stalled. It’s very new territory.”
Cumberbatch makes some valid points, especially how the simultaneous release model was a new concept for both Johansson and Disney. Proper communication between the two parties is all that was needed to sort out their differences. But according to a recent report, Disney executives ghosted Johansson’s legal team when they tried to negotiate a new contract for their client. Johansson reportedly asked for $100 million if Black Widow was to debut on Disney+ and theaters the same day. Disney CEO Bob Chapek was busy handling other matters when this happened. The people he left in charge erred in their dealings with the Black Widow star. Subsequently, Johansson sued Disney for a “Breach of Contract”.
Hopefully, they sort out this mess amiably. As for Cumberbatch, he will next be seen in Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog. The Sherlock star will portray a domineering and manipulative Montana rancher, Phil Burbank, in the film. The Power of the Dog premiered at the 2021 Venice International Film Festival to rave reviews. Cumberbatch’s performance is being called his best yet. The film will have a limited theatrical release on November 17, 2021, before streaming on Netflix from December 01. The Power of the Dog will likely be a major awards season contender for Netflix. Cumberbatch himself stands a chance to walk away with an Academy Award.
As for Scarlett Johansson, she has signed on to star in Wes Anderson’s next movie. So, suing Disney didn’t turn out to be a career suicide as most predicted. Plus, she has received support from Elizabeth Olsen and Kevin Feige. Benedict Cumberbatch will return as the Sorcerer Supreme in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness next summer. Directed by Sam Raimi and co-starring Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Xochitl Gomez, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness released on March 25, 2022.