Casting Call: Dr. Strange

The last casting call was so much fun, I thought we’d try another. This time, we’re going to cast a Dr. Strange movie, based on the proposal that we created back in the spring.

I think we’re going to load this a little heavier on the heroes. We need our titular hero, Dr. Strange, of course. We need his apprentice, the Scarlet Witch. We need his love interest, Night Nurse. We need his manservant, Wong. Plus, I’d like to sneak in his ally, Jericho Drumm, also known as Brother Voodoo.

On the villain side, I’ll stick with one, although he can have lots of flunkies if necessary. This is going to be someone that we created ourselves, someone that has never been seen before: our cyberpunk villain.

This casting call creates some unique challenges. While Strange, the Witch, Wong and Brother Voodoo have an established history, Night Nurse wasn’t used for years, and then she appeared for only six issues, and we’ve never seen our villain before. That means it’s going to be a little more difficult for us to argue who would be good in those roles. However, I have faith in our ability to argue anything, so I’m sure we’ll succeed on this as well.

Take it away! The casting couch is open!

I figured this is the one you’d pick next. You’re so predictable, but hopefully, my choices for the roles won’t be (meaning I won’t tap George Clooney as the good doctor even though he used to play one on TV).

Whoever plays Doctor Strange has to be a rather lithe man, someone who looks young-ish for his age and has the demeanor to pull off a serious yet dry-humor-dotted script (so he should most likely be British). He has to be believable, basically. For that kind of pathos, I turn to…

Rufus Sewell. I love this guy as a darker, smirking professional with a glimmer in his eye. You may remember him from A Knight’s Tale opposite Heath Ledger or, more recently, in the HBO miniseries John Adams.

That was a relatively easy choice for me. However, the female roles are a bit harder. There are a lot of qualified females out there who fit the general look and feel of both Scarlet Witch and Night Nurse. Wanda’s role needs to be filled by someone who seems a little confused (to play up her recent breakdown) and delicate, yet has an inner strength that is apparent, minding the fact that she used to be very powerful. This one will surprise you:

Linda Cardellini. She has most recently been seen on ER, but has a longer history which includes Freaks and Geeks and two runs as Velma in the live-action Scooby-Doo movies. She has a bit of a tomboy feel to her while also remaining strongly feminine. She also looks like the type who could get jealous easily (and make you pay for it dearly).

Night Nurse, as you’ve pointed out, is fairly unknown to most people, civilian and fanboy alike. However, based on the recent vision of Marcos Martin in the Doctor Strange: The Oath miniseries, we know that she’s a brunette, she’s very self-assured and she appears to have some bit of Asian ancestry. I’m going to select another of my favorite females on the planet, Miss Olivia Munn.

She can be seen weeknights on G4TV’s Attack of the Show where she makes geeks drool. She also has quite the acting chops, having appeared in weekly parody skits where she has donned the memorable costumes of both Wonder Woman and Princess Leia. I could definitely see her holding her own in a smart-ass exchange.

The character of Wong pretty much screams for a Chinese national. I can think of no one better than the star of Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer, Stephen Chow. Shave his head and he’s good to go.

And, the person who would best portray Brother Voodoo came to me rather quickly as well. I briefly debated whether or not Voodoo should be older than Strange, but finally decided that it wasn’t really relevant. As long as he has the right kind of face, the character should be easy to portray. That’s why I turned to Chiwetel Ejiofor…

He’s a bit younger than Rufus Sewell, but I think he looks like a contemporary. Besides, he needs to be attuned to a different type of magic, something that may keep him younger or in better shape than the less rigorous monitoring that Strange performs. Ejiofor is English-born and has spent nearly his entire career in small film roles from American Gangster to Children of Men to Serenity.

Finally, a young villain who has no small amount of confidence in his abilities. He’s bright-eyed and eager to impress, but he’s also deeply disturbed and willing to do anything to get his way. I’m thinking a quirky mix of Jude Law and Macaulay Culkin…a younger Robert Downey Jr. or Justin Timberlake without all the annoying qualities of Justin Timberlake. So…

He’s the new Chekhov in the new Star Trek movie! He played admirably alongside Mr. Downey Jr. in Charlie Bartlett. He was even kidnapped by the aforementioned Timberlake in Alpha Dog. This is Anton Yelchin and he’s my vision for a badass steampunk/cyberpunk bastard sure to jab a sharp thorn into Doc Strange’s side.

What say you? How did I do?

Petrfect casting. Next!

Oh, it’s not quite that simple, except that it kinda is. First of all, for the record, I debated quite a bit about whether or not to cast this group, and almost suggested we cast our group of criminals in Manhattan Kansas. It was only the sad lack of actors in Hollywood who have the head of a fish that helped me decide to go with the Strange group.

That being said, I actually don’t have any problems with any of your choices….not really, anyway. They’re all perfectly good choices, and they certainly came out of left field. You chose an interesting group of actors, and I really only have a problem with one of them, and even that one isn’t one I’d fight too hard to change.

Rufus Sewell is a good actor, and I can easily see him as the good Doctor. I can’t believe that you think I would have cast George Clooney, just because he played a doctor on TV. That would have been silly. I was actually considering Hugh Laurie. I kid, although Laurie might be able to do a passable Strange. Still, Sewell would be a better choice.

My favorite choice of yours, and the one that made me smile was Linda Cardellini as Wanda, the Scarlet Witch. Brilliant! Gold star for you. I couldn’t possibly improve on that casting if I tried.

My least favorite pick, and the one I have the most chance of arguing, is Olivia Munn. Dude, she hosts a show on G4TV. Why didn’t you just pick someone off the view, or pick Connie Chung? That being said, I haven’t watched her show, so I shouldn’t throw stones in her direction; a lot of actors and actresses have started with more humble beginnings; Greg Kinnear started out hosting Talk Soup on E! and he has certainly done well for himself in the field of acting. So, for me to dismiss her on that basis would be petty and close-minded.

I like Stephen Chow quite a bit, but I’m not sure why he should be cast as Wong. Wong needs to radiate tranquility and I’ve not seen anything in Chow’s filmography that suggests he can do that. I’ve also never seen him in a serious role, and I think Wong is pretty serious. I’m not hating Stephen Chow in the role, but he seems, to be honest, kind of random. I’m going to suggest someone else. I’m going to suggest Rick Yune, who can be seen (bald!) in Die Another Day.

If you ignore the junk on his face and figure how he might look bald, but without the make-up, I think it would be a good fit for Wong. Plus, Yune can be silent and just stand in a scene, since that’s what he spent most of his time doing in Die Another Day. I almost hate to use him in this part, as I think he’s a good actor and might want to cast him somewhere else, but right now, I think he might be a slightly stronger choice than Chow, unless you have a better argument for Chow.

Your Brother Voodoo is a great choice as well; and your choice for our villain is somewhat inspired. It completes a list of actors who operate on the fringes of the mainstream, which is perfect for a group of Strange actors. All of these actors fit together well, and everyone seems to belong, except for the talk show host and the guy mostly known for doing broad comedies. I’ll let the woman go, but I’m just not sold on Chow.

Would it help settle your uneasiness about Olivia Munn if I told you that she spent two seasons on a show called Beyond the Break about a bunch of girls surfing? How about if you knew that she’s set to star in a film with Rob Schneider? Or playing an asylum nurse in an upcoming horror flick? See? A NURSE. Case closed.

Honestly, I briefly considered Rick Yune, but couldn’t get past his perfectly coiffed hair. Heh. Seriously, I thought Wong exhibited a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor in Brian K. Vaughan’s masterful miniseries and just thought that Chow had those chops. Of course, I guess there’s a difference between dry smarminess and outright buffoonery. So, I concede the role of Wong to Rick Yune at your insistence. So, our cast:

2 Responses to Casting Call: Dr. Strange

  1. wrongdimension says:

    This might work if it was a straight to DVD movie from the early 90’s, and even then it would be terrible.

    Scarlet Witch? Only peripherally in the Dr. Strange mythos. What about Clea?

    A Dr. Strange movie NEEDS to have a big name actor to bring people into the theater. No one is going to see a big budget Marvel superhero movie with unknowns anymore after Robert Downey Jr. played Tony Stark. With a character as obscure as Dr. Strange you NEED someone like Johnny Depp or Daniel Day Lewis to expand interest past the fanboys.

    As for Brother Voodoo… Do you really think they would use a storyline in the Doc mythos that used Brother Voodoo? If this choice was made for affirmative action reasons, I could see them making Wong a black man before I could see them using this character.

  2. Jason says:

    I appreciate the comment, but I think you missed the point. If you’ve been following our site, you know that we take characters or plots that we believe have been “led astray” and we try to revamp them to make them better or more relevant.

    A while back, we did a revamp of Doctor Strange…that’s where the Scarlet Witch and Brother Voodoo interaction comes from. This wasn’t, by any means, what we thought a Doctor Strange movie should look like, but rather who we could see playing the parts in OUR version of a Doctor Strange storyline.

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