Doctor Who RPG: Another Casting Call

I'm thinking about doing another Doctor Who RPG "series" featuring our homebrewed Time Lord, the Shepherd, but a few regenerations on seeing as the composition of my player group has changed a lot since last summer. And while the group came up with a lot of casting ideas back in 2009, a good casting director keeps his catalog up to date! So here's another go at casting our Doctor analog. Who is eccentric enough, curious enough, brilliant enough to play a great "Doctorish" time traveler? Let's see...


Stephen FryThe previous effort's comments section is filled to the brim with good suggestions, and while I don't want to play favorites - they all have merit - the one that really popped for me was Stephen Fry. The screen's quintessential Oscar Wilde, a Victorian connection that is perfectly Whovian, Fry has the acting chops, comic timing and flamboyancy required of a role like this.

Benedict Cumberbatch
It's easy to think of Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch as a runner-up for the job of the Doctor, especially since Moffat is writing both characters. Not only does Benedict Cumberbatch have a really fun name to say, and that odd yet attractive look, but the character of Sherlock Holmes is without a doubt "Doctorish" (a Victorian/Edwardian gentleman with a brilliant but eccentric mind with a companion and no need for monetary reward). It of course depends on the player who'll end up playing Shepherd, but he would be my immediate choice.

Alfred Molina
An incredibly versatile actor, Molina has almost had as many looks as there are titles in his filmography. Hard to choose a look based on those, as he'd probably invent something completely new if given the chance. Relevant experience: As Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2, he showed he was afraid of neither technobabble nor genre franchises. And since Shepherd's first body was played by John Rhys-Davies, more heavy set actors would seem most natural as replacements.

Michael Palin
Pythons aren't mentioned all that often in connection with Doctor Who, or at least, not recently. Do we consider their previous work too silly (while simultaneously cheering John Cleese's cameo in City of Death)? Of all the Pythons though, I'd like to nominate Michael Palin. He's had more sinister turns in films like Brazil, but really, how fun would be if the BBC's resident globetrotter were to become its famous space-time traveler? HUGE fun, I dare say.

Philip Glenister
Gene Hunt as a Time Lord? Not a good match for the Doctor, but as long as we're using our own guy... It would beg the question as to why Shepherd has become more violent, but since he did fight in the Time War, I'm sure there's a bit of a warrior in him. I don't think Glenister would adopt the Gene Genie's sexist attitudes, but his tetchiness would certainly keep his modern companions on edge, and I love the 70s fashions on him. Glenister has proven that he can make an antagonistic character sympathetic and engaging, so it works for me.

NOT BRITS (because every planet has an ocean that can be crossed)

Paul Gross
If you've never seen the awesome Canadian series Slings & Arrows, even with my shilling it every so often, you really should. Paul Gross' mad Shakespeare actor/director Geoffrey Tennant is a great prototype for a Canadian Time Lord (from Gallifrey's Great White North, no doubt). He's mercurial, unpredictable, slovenly, and undeniably brilliant. He would make a great, mad Time Lord.

Matt Frewer
Frewer's been in and out of genre film and television all his life, providing quirky comic performances even when given action roles. In a way, he's a younger version of Christopher Lloyd who was on the previous list. Not so young now, so he's primed to play a wise Time Lord.

Ron Glass
A completely postmodern choice that tickles my fancy, what if the actor who played a mysterious and wise character called Shepherd on Firefly also played a Time Lord called the Shepherd in my rinky-dink role-playing series? People always say they wish his secrets had been revealed in Serenity (if not in the never-made seasons of Firefly we all deserved), well... I'd allow him to step aboard a TARDIS where his character could be explored for realz.

If you're in the mood for another round of Time Lordy suggestions for YOUR ideal DWAITAS (or FASA, or Time Lord) role-playing series, you know what to do. And next week... Casting a Time Lady!


Craig Oxbrow said...

Yay, Alfred Molina! We've worked together before.

For heavy-set British character actor awesomeness, you might also consider Simon Russell Beale.

Siskoid said...

Hahaha, Molina would definitely be awesome.

I don't know Beale, but I like his look!

Gordon D said...

Actually, according to the documentary on the Doctor Who TV movie DVD, Palin *was* asked to play the Doctor...but he didn't feel that he was up for the part.

Damn shame, really....

But although Philip may not be a good Doctor, what about his brother Robert (aka "Ash Morgan" on HUSTLE)?

Craig Oxbrow said...

SRB is in the ninth series of Spooks, so you might see him soonish. The photo linked to is from his time playing Smiley in the BBC Radio adaptations of the Le Carre books.

Siskoid said...

Gordon: Maybe the Python connection would have made it more of a hit in the States... and where would we be today if Who HAD been successfully resurected as America tv?

Robert is the one who made me think of Philip in the first place, but I'd give him an audition too.

Craig: Or in about a year, judging by the way it's being released in Region 1.

Lazarus Lupin said...

OK nice choices, good choices. I'd go with Molina...
Let me play devil's advocate and make some alternate suggestions...

1) Eddie Izzard. He's funny, quick on his feet and unpredictable.

2) Patton Oswald. Why not a more nerdy, compact doctor. He'd be a sweetie.

3) That Japanese guy from Heroes. YATA!

4) Ed Norton. He's smart. He's funny. He doesn't look like much and people underestimate him at his peril.

Lazarus Lupin and review

Siskoid said...

I liked Patton Oswald's more dramatic turn in Dollhouse, so yeah, I'd definitely see him as the Doctor or an analog Time Lord.

Craig Oxbrow said...

I've thought about what a UK-only Eighth Doctor series might have looked like before, but I imagine a US-backed version would have included some of the ideas from the series bible like adapting previous Doctors' adventures directly for the new audience, so we get a remake of The Gunfighters shot in a more authentic location.

Siskoid said...

On the TVM DVD, bible author Segal says he never had any intention to remake past stories. Those were there to show what the format could do (and had done).

Craig Oxbrow said...

Maybe not, but the making-of book Regenerations has a chuink of the series bible including a treatment for a new version of The Gunfighters. Maybe it was just a rather thorough example or would be the only one.

Anyway, more people suggest casting!

Siskoid said...

If you want even more casting, I hope you didn't neglect to click the link to the previous article at the top of the post.

Wyvern said...

Richard E. Grant -- I thought he made a good Doctor in "Scream of the Shalka", although Russell Davies apparently hated his performance.

- Wyvern

Anonymous said...

Just thought of another one... Michael
Gambon. (I didn't realize, till I looked at his photos on the IMDB, that he'd already been in one episode of the latest season. Haven't seen that episode yet, though.) Here's the picture that inspired me. What d'you think? Doctor and companion?

- Wyvern


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