Still prepping for that Doctor Who RPG I mean to run, and we really want to cast the role of the Doctor analog correctly. We don't want our principal Time Lord to be the Doctor per se, but someone sufficiently Doctorish (or someones, since multiple players may play later regenerations in side games). So first off, what are the qualities we're looking for? What does Doctorish mean? We identified three things that are necessary to creater a proper, adventuring Time Lord, and an extra for this particular campaign:
1) Curiosity (to motivate travel and get us into plots)
2) Eccentricity (rogue Time Lords are a quirky bunch, as much physically and mentally)
3) Brilliance (must be able to carry off their great intellect)
4) Because we want to play post-Time War, we also need the Time Lord to be a wounded soul.
So who fits? Here are the ideas we came up with for our Time Lord, the Shepherd.
(If all Time Lords are Brits - and we want to forget Eric Roberts' Master as much as possible - then these guys are Time Lords, surely.)
Ian HolmA little like the 7th Doctor, a seemingly harmless little gentleman with a dark side you don't see coming. Relevant experience: Tons of genre work from The Fifth Element and Lord of the Rings to From Hell and Brazil.
He's proven that he can play loud and eccentric in such fare as Moulin Rouge, and walk the line between comedy and drama in Hot Fuzz. Relevant experience: He actually played the Doctor in The Curse of Fatal Death, though not a very effective regeneration.
His Gandalf persona would certainly match a character we want to call "The Shepherd", but he was never so eccentric than as "himself" in an episode of Extras. Relevant experience: Certainly no stranger to genre work (like all the Ians, though I haven't tagged Ian McNeice here).
My favored casting for the 11th Doctor, Jimmy Nesbitt makes a great "working class" Time Lord. Admittedly, my familiarity with his career is limited to Millions and Jekyll. Relevant experience: Jekyll was the brainchild of the new Doctor Who head writer Steven Moffat.
Circa The Princess Bride. A young regeneration of the Shepherd, in the Davison/Tennant/Smith mold, he manages to combine supreme confidence, quick wit and a swashbuckler's skill in the same performance. CAST! He will play a later regeneration for a side-game filled with one-shots, but the character for our main gain must be a little older and sadder.
We're thinking anyone who makes an excellent all-knowing father figure to Batman should be able to handle a few companions. Worried about not coming off as quirky enough.
Boisterous even in life and he played a character called The Professor in Sliders. Seeing as the usual Doctor analog in called the Professor, that's a pretty tight fit. CAST! He plays the lead in our main campaign. Welcome aboard, JRD!
(There's no reason an American or other nationality couldn't play a Time Lord... Every planet has a West.)
For Americans, it's important that their accents aren't TOO American, and eccentricity has to carry the day to justify their casting. Christopher Lloyd SWEATS eccentricity. Too much? Relevant experience: Doc Brown is the model here, obviously.
An odd choice, you might say, but his many neurotic performances earn him at least a first audition. I'm thinking about his distracted Bruce Wayne, but The Dream Team and other comedies might also provide clues to how he would play a Time Lord.
Probably the best American fit, especially in his early 70s work. Had Doctor Who been an American program, he would have played him for sure. Relevant experience: Willy Wonka, Sherlock Holmes' Younger Brother, Young Frankenstein.
Quirky in everything I've ever seen him in, from Sex, Lies & Videotape to Boston Legal, James Spader may be just a little too lascivious in his quirkiness though.
His faux-British accent in John Adams proves he could do it AS a Brit, and his lovable loser persona would make for an entertaining spin on the rogue Time Lord archetype. Definitely one of my favorite ideas, and if I were player rather than GM, probably my personal casting.
Obviously, as we've decided on a male Time Lord, I didn't cast any ladies. It's not because I don't think any actresses are "Doctorish", quite the opposite. I would love the Doctor to get a sex change some day. But I'll open the floor to you. If you were to cast a new rogue Time Lord hero or heroine, who would you cast?