Casting Call: The Doctor
Well, unfortunately it is that time again. With the newest season of Doctor Who over (and what an ending am I right?!!) the inevitable has once again happened, Matt Smith is leaving the show. Now we as Whovians all are used to the heartbreak, the stages of grieving that come along every time this in announced, but by this point I think we can all just jump to acceptance and look to the future. True it is sad that we can never seem to get attached for too long to a Doctor, but this does give the creators a great chance to really change up the show, give us something different, new or perhaps old to shake things up.
Below I give you my dream wish list for possible Doctors, from the somewhat obvious looks-wise, to a few that I am sure would make you scratch your heads. Although I have pretty much given up my hopes and dreams for a female doctor (played by Helen Mirren), it would just be too much for the show to change, I do have some ideas which I think would add a new level of fun and creativity to the show. Enjoy!
Sticking with the Same
Although I am getting a little tired of the gawky, handsome yet awkward Doctor we have had for quite some time now, I will admit that it has worked. So, if they must keep with the tall, thin young man who can be silly, adorable, and yet have a serious edge let’s try some new faces.
Aaron Tveit – Most recently seen in Les Miserables, this 29 year old is quickly becoming a heartthrob and will surely be in high demand soon. He has a sweetness but can bring in some intensity, if you have seen Les Mis you know what I mean. Also, haven’t we all been expecting a nice musical episode of the show? Come on I cannot be the only one surprised that we haven’t had Joss Whedon come on over and give us the oddball songs for our loveable Doctor and companion to sing.
Ben Winshaw – I cannot gush enough about this amazing young actor, he has taken over as Q in the newest Bond series, he starred in one segment of Cloud Atlas and has a slew of new films lined up. BUT he would be my absolute first choice to play the Doctor, he has the oddly cute look about him that Matt Smith had, the intensity of Tennant and the ability to go from sarcastic edge to charming smile like dear Eccelston.
Caleb Landry Jones – Now, as we have all seen the Doctor seems to be getting younger and younger with each regeneration, in my opinion that needs to stop, but if we do want to keep that trend going let’s try something a little different. Caleb may be an American, gasp! at the thought of our dear Doctor being a Texan!, but he brings that look we are used to, the intensity and the charm, why not try out a Yankee? You may not recognize his face at first, unless you were a fan of Friday Night Lights, but give him one hell of a scream and you get Banshee from X-Men First Class.
Andrew Garfield – I know what you are thinking…Spiderman as the Doctor? What?! Stick with me. Garfield has proven to be a great young actor, already trusted with iconic roles, and yes Whovians may again be put off by the fact that he has already appeared in an episode or two, but I still advocate for this charismatic west coaster. He has this oddness about him, he is sweet, charismatic, witty, pure geek through and through and would make for an interesting season or two of Doctor Who.
My absolute dream, something I have wanted for a very long time, is a return to the elderly Doctor. When the show began it was quite successful with a grandfatherly type figure played by the magnificent William Hartnell, and I don’t see why we can’t take a stab at that again. Now I know it is a long shot and my choices are pretty unrealistic, but why not dream big?!
Anthony Hopkins – Ever since I started watching this amazing program I have had one person in mind to take over the show, all I have wanted is just one season, one episode where this amazing thespian would take on the role of the most magnificent time traveler of all time! Imagine a Doctor who scares you with him intensity, and perhaps cannibalistic tendencies, but then you still love him in the end because he is so charismatic, and well Thor’s dad! Casting Hopkins would breathe such life into the show, really change how it is written and treated by all audiences, it would be an amazing achievement.
Ian McKellan – Not as fatherly as Hopkins perhaps, but imagine Gandalf’s quirky sense of humor, Magneto’s intensity, and McKellan’s pure charm all wrapped up in the TARDIS! Another impossible dream but having this kingly man, who yes has already technically been on the show as the Great Intelligence, would again bring in some new, perhaps older, life.
Alan Rickman – Another charmer with a dark side, he can be hilarious, intense, scary, quirky and brilliant all in the same scene making him an ideal candidate for our dear Doctor. Also, if you have ever seen his soft and subtle performance in Love, Actually you know that he can be sweet and charming, so maybe just maybe we can have a mature love develop? (Cough, Helen Mirren, cough)
Bill Nighy – Now I know what you are going to say, he was already in an episode blah blah. But really for only about a minute or two, and whose to say it wasn’t the future Doctor? I know that is a stretch but Nighy was kind of born to play the role, he is funny, charming and just fun to watch no matter what he is in. Whereas the other three would bring a raw intensity and possibly a dark side, Nighy would be just pure entertainment, witty and quick whitted, very Tennant like.
So far we have covered the casting choices which kind of fit the bill as far as what we expect from the Doctor, either the quirky adorable young man or the lovable grandfather figure, but what if the show decided to take a different turn, a darker turn? These actors would bring a new touch to the show, add in some much needed vitality and darkness which I personally has been missing as of late. You may not know their names but their faces have slowly started seeping their way into your television screens over the last couple of years.
James Nesbitt – If this face is not familiar to you then I beg you to watch Steven Moffat’s Jekyll, an intense modern telling of the classic “Jekyll and Hyde” tale, starring Nesbitt as the title characters. Nesbitt has been a familiar face in British television for almost two decades, but has only recently become a name in major films, thanks mostly to his role as the joker Bofur in The Hobbit trilogy. Nesbitt is a unique performer, he can go to amazingly dark and terrifying places and then in a split second warm your heart and make you laugh, if he were to take on the Doctor I think the series would be better for it. Already a Moffat favorite, Nesbitt could take us deeper into the tangled mind of the Doctor, delving into the trauma of the war, and I believe a regular companion may not be necessary, because he could easily take the show on his shoulders with no needed aide.
Robert Carlyle – Another face you may recognize, especially if you are a fan of the popular ABC series Once Upon a Time, in which he plays the devilishly charismatic pseudo villain Rumpelstilskin/Mr. Gold. Most of the time Carlyle is chosen for the bad guy, having a face that may not necessarily say leading man and kind of acting which leans towards the darkerside, but again believe that this is exactly what Doctor Who needs. Carlyle may not be as overtly funny or quirky as we are used to, but he reminds me a bit of Eccelston, in that he can play with sacastic humor and give us a deeper, darker Doctor.
Sharlto Copley – Please, please if you don’t recognize this face go watch District 9 right now! Copley is somewhat new to the screen but is making an amazing impact with his vitality, humor and raw ferocity which he brings to each of his roles, even as Murdoch in the remake of The A-Team. There is something quite special about this actor and I cannot place what it is, he draws your eye right to him no matter what scene he is in, and I am supremely excited to see him in the upcoming Elysium. Okay, enough with the gushing…why should he play the Doctor? I think he combines the look we are used to, the gawky, lanky quirky charmer, and the wild eyed curiosity we have seen in Doctors of old but he can also play it dark and creepy which is what we need to see more of in the future.
Breaking the Race Barrier
Why hasn’t this happened yet? We finally had a companion of color with the wonderful Martha Jones, and to an extent Mickey if you want to be technical about it, so isn’t it time we have a Doctor who breaks the race barrier? I believe we are at a time now where race shouldn’t be an issue in casting at all, when it is all about talent and who can breathe new life into the show.
Lennie James – Honestly, if I cannot have Ben Winshaw, Anthony Hopkins or James Nesbitt, this man would be my next top choice. If you are a fan of the wonderful The Walking Dead then you may know why I love this man so much, he is by far the standout character from that show, and he was only on it for two episodes! If you want to give the show something new, fresh and dare I say a bit sexy as well, then Lennie would be ideal. He has been in several series over the past couple of decades but has yet to really be given the chance to lead a show on his own which I believe wholeheartedly he could do. Perhaps that is the key with James, heart, even in the short time he was on The Walking Dead, he expressed such passion, such heart that you couldn’t help but feel for him and his story.
Chiwetel Ejiofor – Another face you may recognize though the name may not ring a bell, if you are a Browncoat then you may snear at him for his role in Serenity, but he has actually been a familiar face in quite a few other highly acclaimed films like Children of Men, Kinky Boots and Love, Actually. He is pure charm and talent, can be silly (as seen in Kinky Boots where he dances gracefully in lady’s red heals) but also dark and foreboding (still glaring at you for being The Operative), and would again bring new life into the role of the Doctor.
Adrian Lester - This song and dance man may not be familiar to you at all, which is a shame because he is a wonderfully well-rounded performer. He most recently starred in Hustle, a fun con artist show on AMC, but always grabs my attention for his roles in modern retellings of Shakespeare, like Love’s Labors Lost and As You Like It. I believe he would very much fit with the young image of the Doctor we currently have, so it wouldn’t have to be as much of a drastic change as it would be with the others, sweet, charming and multi-talented, something we need for our Doctor.
Did I blow your mind with my choices? Were you surprised by who was included or perhaps who was left out? Well, who would you like to see take on our favorite mad man in a box?
Bonus Section: The Master
So you may be asking why didn’t I go for the big obvious choices for the Doctor, the two names which have been tossed around by fans everywhere even though they are kind of impossible because of how big the actors are on British television at the moment? Well two reasons, 1) they already are maxed out with projects and 2) they would be AMAZING as the Master!
Benedict Cumberbatch – Come on how amazing would it be to see John Simm regenerate into Cumberbatch!?! As most of us have recently seen, Cumberbatch can play the villain superbly, making you hate him and love him all at the same time, which is important for a character like the Master. The Doctor’s arch nemesis is a key to the series but sadly we haven’t seen him for awhile, because who could possibly replace Simm? Also, in my opinion, the Master was kind of wasted in his final moments, not getting the real send off he deserved, so I really hope he does come back but this time with some real bite, and Cumberbatch can surely do that.
Idris Elba – If not Cumberbatch then Elba! Or better yet why not have them both, one right after the other, no now I know I am just dreaming but why not? Idris’ name is thrown around so much these days because he is just an amazing talent, people want him to take over Bond, the Doctor, and pretty much any new popular badass remake mentioned has his name attached at some point. Just imagine him as the ultimate villain on Doctor Who, we know he can play the dark and intense thanks to Luther, but he also has such charisma as a villain, as seen in my all-time favorite role of his Stringer Bell on The Wire.
Hey Moffat…if you happen to come across this please just make a Who girl happy and give me one of these
But what about a female Doctor? Tune in again tomorrow for Funk’s Top 10 Women to Play the Doctor!