Comic Book Casting: The DOCTOR STRANGE Movie
He may not be the only doctor-turned-superhero, but Dr. Strange is undoubtedly the go-to guy when it comes to magic. With his straight-laced super-hero and mutant friends already making their way to the silver screen, this silver-templed mage could (and should) be next.
Trained as a neurosurgeon, Strange’s planned future was vexed after a car accident rendered his hands unable to perform even simple surgical maneuvers. After countless surgical attempts to restore his hands, he once-proud doctor finds himself hunting after an Eastern mythical being known as the Ancient One to cure him with alternative medicine and, well, witchcraft. Strange goes for a cure and finds a new way of life — following in the footsteps of the wizened mage and becoming one himself.
With all that story, Doctor Strange has yet to make a hit on the big screen. The closest thing was a maligned late 70s TV movie that’s better left forgotten, and if The Avengers movie takes off as we hope this summer then Doctor Strange could be next.
Although I only glossed over it earlier, Dr. Strange has arguably the most unique and evocative origins. If you liked Tony Stark and his story of redemption, then Steven’s story of going from a stuck-up surgeon to a compassionate magician and giving up the world of science for magic is right up there.
For a Dr. Strange movie, it should be an origin story with him only becoming the hero we know in the final moments of the movie. They could almost use the template thrown down by Jon Favreau in the first Iron Man movie, but needs to fill that in with a more fantastical, magical experience — and I’m not talking Harry Potter. It’ll take someone special to bring this to life, and I have just the person.
Guillermo del Toro. You might think that’s an unrealistic reach, but did you know in 2008 he was attached to direct with no less than Neil Gaiman in talks to write the script. Although del Toro ultimately moved on to other projects, he has put in the research and with the right offer could return to the project. The Mexican director could really bring a twisted version of the magical realms of Steve Ditko to life, and his ideas for the creatures Strange would run into are mindblowing to think of. Imagine del Toro’s idea of the Mindless Ones.
Doctor Strange – Jon Hamm: Hamm won people over with his lead role on TV’s Mad Men, but has yet to capture the lead in a movie. He could do wonders with this, as we’ve seen him play a man going down the wrong path in Mad Men and seen a more light-hearded Hamm in 30 Rock.
Baron Mordo – Hugh Laurie: Some people might go so far as to cast Laurie as Dr. Strange given his long history playing a doctor, but when you look closer he’s undeniably more ideal for the jealous Baron Mordo. Seeing him square off against Hamm-as-Strange would be geek heaven for fans of their work, and could really make a legitimate threat out of Mordo.
The Ancient One – Chow Yun Fat: The Ancient One is more than just an Obi-Wan figure guiding Strange on his redemptive path. Someone with the gravitas of Chow could really be the crux of Strange’s story and also play referee between Strange and Mordo.
Linda Carter, The Night Nurse – Evangeline Lilly: The Night Nurse didn’t play into Strange’s original origin, but her later inclusion has made a lot of sense. For this, I’d have Carter be a nurse on Strange’s staff when he is a surgeon and also a formative sounding-board. When Strange runs off to find a magical cure, Carter could he his lifeline back to the real world. Lilly could really offset Strange’s dark path and later be a link to his traditional medicinal roots when he’s entrenched as a magician.
Wong – Sung Kang: Although Wong wouldn’t really enter the scene until a later movie, I couldn’t help but include this because of the casting I thought of. Sung Kang was one of the bright spots int the recent Fast And The Furious movies, and he’d be a great headstrong guy Friday for Strange when he returns to New York City.
Clea – Kate Winslet: Likewise, introducing Clea might be better held off until a second movie, but perhaps throwing her in for a cameo role in the first movie could plant the seeds for that. Winslet would really add a flair to this and I’d love to see her in a fantastical magical role like this.