2016’s Doctor Strange was a solid introduction to the sorcerer supreme. It featured heaps of mystical magic, a snarky Benedict Cumberbatch, and helped bring more otherworldly elements to the MCU. One of the more forgettable inclusions, however, was Strange’s love interest, Dr. Christine Palmer. In the comics, Palmer becomes the Night Nurse; a mantle taken on by several women who patch up injured superheroes. But the movie never went this route. Rachel McAdams played Palmer in the movie. But director Scott Derrickson initially offered the role to Jessica Chastain. And she has a pretty good reason for turning it down.
Apparently, Chastain wants the role of the hero rather than a supporting character, saying she only has one chance at being in a Marvel movie. Doctor Strange writer C. Robert Cargill recently spoke about it on the Junkfood Cinema podcast. You can check out the full quote below.
This is the interesting thing that Hollywood’s starting to find out, is that a lot of the actresses out there want to be superheroes as much as the actors do. I know this happened with Scott [Derrickson]. He went to Jessica Chastain to get her on Doctor Strange, because we were considering her. And she’s like, ‘Hey, look, this project sounds awesome, and I would love to do it. But I’m only going to get one shot at being in a Marvel film and becoming a Marvel character; and I trained in ballet, and I really want to wear a cape.’ And that was the coolest rejection ever. She wanted to be in a Marvel movie, but she wanted to be the superhero, not the badass doctor Night Nurse.”
It’s definitely understandable to want the hero role. Chastain clearly wants to work with Marvel as she played Vuk in last year’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Unfortunately, that was the last breath of a dying franchise that didn’t impress critics or audiences. Hopefully, she’ll get another chance to join the MCU. But she probably made the right call on Doctor Strange. Rachel McAdams reportedly won’t return for the sequel, meaning we won’t even get Palmer as the Night Nurse.