CBT’s Warriors Three Cast: Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange is a complex character, for many reasons, and even more complex when you start to look at how to adapt the character for the big screen. Dr. Stephen Strange starts out as an egotistical neurosurgeon who only cares about material things and it is very hard to like the character. But, after a tragic accident causes the skilled surgeon lose the use of his hands, you begin to see a transformation and your feelings for the character begin to change. Ultimately, Strange is altered into the Sorcerer Supreme and the name Doctor Strange takes on an entirely new meaning. Not only will it take a special writer and director to pull the film together (I’m looking at you Guillermo Del Toro)but it i going to take a special actor to make a completely unlikable and downright despicable character likeable. On top of that, Strange will open up the mystical/magical side of Marvel, so the actor taking on that role will have a lot to shoulder as Marvel goes from earth, to space, to an entirely different realm.
As we did not long ago with Batman, Comic Book Therapy’s Warriors Three have compiled a look at some of the actors that we feel would be a great fit for Doctor Strange. And, once again, we look at each other’s choices to either make fun of and ridicule them, or agree with the choices.
Cody: My #1 choice for Dr. Stephen Strange, Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme, is Benedict Cumberbatch. The Sherlock star is quickly (and deservedly) becoming an actor a lot of people are talking about. Cumberbatch can play an egotistical jerk. Sherlock is Doctor Strange without the humbling injury. The Batch could easily play Strange without it feeling like a rehash of Sherlock. He’s popping up in a lot of movies these past few years, and there’s a reason. He’s a fantastic actor with incredible range. He’s a star, but not quite a superstar. He’s famous enough to be Strange and be the Marvel’s next Robert Downey Jr. I understand how big that last statement is, and I stand by it.
Josh: I still haven’t watched Sherlock yet, something I really need to do. But, I have seen Star Trek Into Darkness and Cumberbatch stole the film quite handily. He’s an amazing actor and I have no doubt that he’d do an amazing job with Strange. I can honestly say, I have nothing bad to say here. If Marvel wants him for this role, they had better act quickly, as he’ll be too busy and out of their budget-conscious range before too long.
Jake: Cumberbatch seems to be everyone’s top choice for this role. I mean if it happens I’ll be excited to see the movie. On the flip side however, it seems like a pretty uninspired choice. Cumberbatch is a tremendous actor and I really want him to play a superhero, but Doctor Strange just seems so obvious. One thing is for sure though; he needs to be a hero and NOT a villain. I guess in a roundabout way what I’m say is, I would be okay with this choice, but I wouldn’t love it.
Josh: Being that I couldn’t quite my choices down to two, you’re going to get three from me. Deal with it. The first actor is one that is among the top choices among fans for Doctor Strange. Jim Caviezel was once attached to play Cyclops in Bryan Singer’s first X-Men film, but due to other obligations, he was forced to drop out and James Marsden stepped in. Ever since then, I’ve wanted Jesus, or the man who played him, to take part in a comic book film. Admittedly, Caviezel is not a huge name, but he has great screen presence and the skill to pull of such a tragic and complex character like Strange. He certainly has the look as well, with a tall and imposing stature. Having said that, I think he’d need a strong supporting cast to help keep him afloat, more in the sense of box office draw rather that skill, however.
Cody: Caviezel just seems bland to me. He’s a good actor and he does a great job in Person of Interest, but I don’t see him as being able to carry a huge blockbuster franchise like Dr. Strange. He just doesn’t have that “pop” that you need. Robert Downey Jr. carries Marvel earth, Chris Pratt will carry Marvel cosmic, I just don’t see Caviezel being as animated as those guys to carry Marvel mystical.
Jake: Caviezel isn’t a bad choice. I have to admit I have never been a fan of his work. However, he seems to fit this mold for me. Like Josh says he has a good screen presence. Having missed out on the role of Cyclops and seeing how big superhero films have become I wouldn’t be surprised if he was offered the role to see him jump at the chance, and you know what? I wouldn’t hate it.
My first choice to play Dr. Strange has to be Hugh Laurie. Laurie is a very talented actor who has displayed that he can play multiple characters. His role as Dr. House, in Fox’s hit television show House, really showed his wide range of comedy and drama. While he doesn’t really look like the character put some black hair dye and a goatee on him, and I think we have a winner.
Cody: Laurie is a great actor, but I think he’s trying to focus more on his music now. He just had an album come out which I hear is fantastic. He’d be the oldest Marvel cast member to date. I don’t want to be the guy that keeps pointing out age, but it’s something to really think about when you’re looking to build a franchise. Laurie could definitely pull it off though. I just fear people may think it’s just magical Dr. House with this one though.
Josh: Ah, yes…House. I was never a fan of that show, as the character drove me insane; which is credit to the skills of Laurie. As with a couple of my (awesome) selections, age is an issue, but I think it can be worked around. I don’t picture Strange being a hugely active role, not like Captain America or Thor for instance, and I haven’t ever seen Laurie tackle a role like that, so it’d be interesting to see how he’d do.
Cody: I’ve been pretty set on Cumberbatch as Strange for years now, so I had to do some pondering on another choice. I think a great choice would be Ioan Gruffudd. Yes, he played Mr. Fantastic years ago, but with the series being rebooted and Chris Evans being a different superhero, it’s entirely possible Gruffudd could be the good Doctor. Gruffudd is another great actor who has been doing a lot of theater and TV work as of late. He has a fantastic look to pull of Stephen Strange. He’s 39 (Cumberbatch is 37). That’s a great age for Doctor Strange. The actor can still do several sequels and guest appearances, plus it makes Strange a little more capable and wiser. It will be hard to have a younger Strange be believable and as authoritative as he is in the comics. Gruffudd has the presence, the look, and most importantly the desire for another comic book role. I desperately want him to get another shot at a comic book movie, and Strange seems like a great option to me.
Jake: This is a decent choice. While I think he was all wrong for Mr. Fantastic, I do believe he could pull this off. The problem you have with Gruffudd is will fanboys accept him after he let them down in Fantastic Four. One could make the argument no, however look at what happened with Chris Evans in Captain America. Still not my number one choice (see my amazing picks) but a solid one none the less.
Josh: I actually like Gruffudd and I don’t think he’d be bad in the role. For those wondering if he can handle the role, watch him in King Arthur. He’s great in that one. As with any actor who takes on multiple comic book movie roles, he’d have a hard time moving from one to the other. But, with the FF4 films, most fans chock that up to bad writing, so I think he’d be OK. Like Jake, he’s not my first choice, but I’d be OK with him in the role.
Next up is my “left field” choice. Edward Burns is one of those actors where the name seems familiar and when you see him, you say, “Oh, that guy!” But you still can’t name a single film he’s in. That’s the one thing he has going against him. Most folks know Burns from Saving Private Ryan and from a few episodes of HBO’s Entourage. But one look at this guy and all I saw was Doctor Strange. He has the look of both and arrogant ass, as well as someone who has learned his lesson and eaten a giant slice of humble pie. As with Caviezel, there will be an issue with box office draw, but if Marvel can look to Chris Pratt to lead a film that features a fighting tree and a weapon-wielding raccoon, then Edward Burns can lead a film that centers heavily on magic.
Cody: Haven’t seen him in much to be honest. He has a good look to him. The only thing I can say is he might be a little too old. He’s 45. Downey is 48 and he’s been talking about how he’s getting a little too old for all the action and doesn’t want to tie himself down for a bunch more Marvel flicks. Doctor Strange, its sequel, and his appearances in Avengers 15 or a Defenders movie might be too much. Now 45 isn’t that old, but that’s really the only thing I can put in the negative column for Burns.
Jake: Once again I applaud Josh for going that extra mile and making the “Left Field” choice, but no. I think maybe I lack the creativity that Josh does in making these picks. In what little I have seen him in (which hasn’t been much I admit) I have not been impressed one bit. I would much rather see Justin Bartha play Batman.
My second choice would be Liam Neeson. Neeson really has the look down, picture Ras Al Ghul from Batman Begins with black hair, and he also processes a certain mystical quality about him that would really help him shine in the role. It also doesn’t hurt that he is a very talented actor who I believe would have no trouble at al playing the Sorcerer Supreme.
Cody: Now this is a choice that makes my age points seem even sillier than they are to begin with. Neeson can obviously do action and franchises (Taken). He’s a fantastic actor and could definitely pull off the role. The only problem I can think of (and it’s not really a problem) is that he’s TOO big of a star. Marvel likes to cast breakout performers for their big franchise roles and keep the A-listers to supporting roles. He definitely needs to be in a Marvel flick though. That’s for sure.
Josh: I would watch Liam Neeson read the phone book for 2 hours and do it with a smile on my face. I don’t see age as being an issue at all here, as he has proven that at his age, he handles fight scenes with ease and experience. I’d like to see someone younger take get the role, for the sake of longevity, but I’d be perfectly fine seeing him take on Strange.
Finally, my third choice is a name that is a bit more known, but mainly because of his brother. I’ve been catching up on the hit FX series American Horror Story: Asylum, and one of the stand-out roles to me is Monsignor Timothy Howard, played by Joseph Fiennes. I’d love to see Fiennes take on the role of Black Tom Cassidy in an X-Men film one day, but I also feel that he’d make a great Doctor Strange. In American Horror Story, Fiennes plays a role that is both troubled and self serving, but there are also glimpses of change and remorse there as well. Like his brother, Ralph, Joseph immerses himself in his film roles and I think Strange is a great role for him to dive into and become.
Cody: Good choice. He’s in his early 40s, so they could probably get a few more movies out of him than some of the other guys. Great look, good actor, solid choice. Can’t find much fault with this one other than the fact Cumberbatch is the better choice. That’s just a fact.
Jake: I have had no exposure what so ever with this guy, so I can only make my casting assessment based on looks, and I would say yeah I can see it. There would need to be a little tweaking here and there in the makeup chair, but I have no doubt what so ever that he could look good for the part. When it comes to whether or not he would actually play the role well, I simply have no idea.
So, what have we learned here? Cody feels the world is too old, Jake needs to watch more movies and television and I need to stop looking in the left field for actors. Maybe the right field would serve me better. Looking at this list, it’s rather impressive and I don’t think that Marvel could go too wrong in choosing any one of them. We know that Marvel is working on a Doctor Strange film, but we don’t have a release date, so we can assume it will take part in the planned Phase 3. Which means that the studio has quite a while before they begin production on the film. Hopefully they’ll see this and take our suggestions to heart (I’m not holding my breath). What say you fans? Do you like any of these choices or do you have a better suggestion? Also, if you have a role you’d like to see us tackle, drop us a line or leave us a comment below, we’d love suggestions and feedback! Until next time!