Casting Call for Comic Book Movies: Dr. Strange

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Posted by Undeadpool (726 posts) - - Show Bio

Dr. Strange is one of those movies that keeps getting maybe possibly made. For realsies this time. The project has been announced (and occassionally completed with...not great results) repeatedly, but beyond an animated movie has never really come together substantially. It's not a huge surprise when you take a step back and really examine the character: he's never been all that popular, his powers are either way too strong or way too weak, and he exists on another plane, literally and figuratively, from the rest of the Marvel Universe.

More this, less
More this, less "full-body blue armor."

As much as cosmic stuff is hard to do well, it's gotta be even harder to do magic storylines that are almost solely about the realm of the mystical, but are still relatable to the average person. Thus I've taken it upon myself to help the project along (call it a comic reader's wish list) in the first of what will probably be several articles about the possibilities of future comic book films.

== TEASER ==


Guillermo Del Toro

So many things to put in so many jars.
So many things to put in so many jars.

Two words: Pan's Labyrinth. In this movie, Del Toro created a strange world full of disturbing, often violent, creatures that existed in parallel with our own. To keep Dr. Strange from becoming too boilerplate of a superhero movie, it's absolutely critical that Strange's exposure to other heroes be limited. Even in the books, Strange has a hard time fitting in because his powers are so ill-defined. They're merely "magic," so he needs other "magic" foes to match him or his abilities become too powerful and unwieldy, thus dispelling any notion of suspense.

Del Toro actually has a great resume to come into this project, having already directed the second Blade movie and a pair of Hellboy movies, so he's already got a lot of experience with mystical and supernatural heroes. He can also juggle horror, action and even comedy better than most directors would handle any one of those genres alone and those are three things that this movie absolutely needs. Imagine the Shuma-Gorath this guy would come up with.

Dr. Strange

Benicio Del Toro

This time I'm getting high on magic. The magic of DRUGS!
This time I'm getting high on magic. The magic of DRUGS!

I'm coming at this movie from a somewhat, and for lack of a better term, "Grant Morrison perspective." And I'm talking about the Grant Morrison we've seen in "The Invisibles," "Doom Patrol," and "The Question," the one who writes psychedelic, often drug-infused, stories of people transcending the physical world and becoming one with the great unknown. Now quit picturing the Benicio Del Toro we know from such films as "Sin City," "The Usual Suspects," and "Snatch" and START remembering him from such films as "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and "The Wolf-Man." Combine the characters of Dr. Gonzo and the protagonist from "The Wolf-Man" and you've basically got the perfect Stephen Strange.

He begins the movie as an arrogant, know-it-all surgeon, but after his horrific accident and he loses the ability to perform his work, he retreats into himself and begins to take an introspective look at who he's been and where he's going. When its revealed that Ancient One has his eye on Stephen, he's brought into a world of strange, psychedelic magick with a K! This movie would de-emphasize the superheroics of the previous movies, maybe with a few tenuous connections to the previous movies, in exchange for a more trippy, mystical journey. I would want to see Del Toro mostly in the astral realm battling Dormmamu and Shuma Gorath in their truest forms.


Keira Knightley

Even in a still image, there's something very magical about her.
Even in a still image, there's something very magical about her.

Say what you will about this woman, she's come a really long way as an actress in a relatively short amount of time. From Padme Amidala's double in The Phantom Menace to hardened mercenary Domino Harvey to gradual legitimate bad ass in the Pirates of the Carribean series, it's been intriguing to see just how versatile this waifish woman is. And that'd be the key to her role in this film.

She'd need to be dignified and upright, providing a stark contrast to Strange when he's hit his lowest point, but also able to expound on the realities of the mystical world that the Doctor has just discovered all while delivering dialog that is going to sound very, very silly coming out of the wrong mouth. She's played nobility before and since Clea is a noblewoman in the world she comes from, the actress who plays her is going to have to be able to juggle being unreachable, but still accessible and I think Knightley's proven she has the chops to pull it off. The fact that she looks good in diaphanous gowns is an added plus.


Stephen Chow

Over there! It's...a career revival!
Over there! It's...a career revival!

No more Del Toros here and with films under his belt like Shaolin Soccer and Kung-Fu Hustle (which he also directed), Chow is perfectly positioned to provide a bit of comic relief in what would have to be a fairly serious affair. Wong's at his best when he's not only providing Strange with assistance, but keeping him grounded. Strange has a way of getting lost in his own head, and often his own dense dialog, so he'd absolutely need someone to bring him back to reality and remind him that, very likely, the clock would be ticking while he pontificates wildly. He'd have to be the straight man in the pairing, rolling his eyes and sighing when Strange refuses to see what's directly in front of his face.


Ben Kingsley

I command you to STOP...putting me in terrible movies.
I command you to STOP...putting me in terrible movies.

The Dread Lord would have to be primarily CG, at least from the neck up, so the actual physical person playing him isn't terribly important. Everybody remembers James Earl Jones as Darth Vader, but only die-hard fans knew that David Prowse was actually the man under the armor. Likewise, the voice of Dormammu is going to be vastly more important than who's actually playing him physically. And what could be a better juxtaposition than the slight, even diminutive Ben Kingsley.

Most well-known for his portrayal of Gandhi, Kingsley has taken dark turns before, most notably as a brutal, psychotically vicious criminal in Sexy Beast. This role allowed him to completely escape being typecast as a perennial "noble martyr" and he's continued to grow even this late in his career. He's also not above slumming it a little, going so far as to work with Uwe Boll on the abysmal Bloodrayne. It'd be nice to see him in a more "fun" movie that isn't completely terrible.

There's our rundown. If we had anything to say about it, we'd want a Doctor Strange movie to look a little something like this. After all, we're the ones that really know the characters. Hollywood sometimes gets the casting right. What are your thoughts on the casting? Who would be the perfect Doctor Strange in your eyes?

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#1 Posted by Green ankh (1104 posts) - - Show Bio

hell i'd be on board with this !!

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#2 Posted by davelecave (1123 posts) - - Show Bio


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#3 Posted by Underwaterlad (52 posts) - - Show Bio

Oh Got that could not be more perfect. Well, apart from Keira 'ironing board' Knightley, of course.

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#4 Posted by Chaos Burn (1898 posts) - - Show Bio

how is Dr Gonzo anything like Dr Strange?

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#5 Posted by Gambit1024 (10217 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree with all of your picks, but in my perfect world, Liam Neeson would be Dr. Strange

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#6 Posted by Jake Fury (21943 posts) - - Show Bio
@Gambit1024 said:

I agree with all of your picks, but in my perfect world, Liam Neeson would be Dr. Strange

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#7 Posted by Decept-O (8098 posts) - - Show Bio

Never gonna happen. I am not hating on Strange but this may be hard to pull off. A TV series may be possible, though.

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#8 Edited by b3n8m3 (49 posts) - - Show Bio

GREAT LIST!!!! I think Del Toro would be more in the ranks of RDJ than Chris Evans . . .but what about Baron Mordo?! He's always been Strange's heel. I'd love to see more Casting Calls like how Wizard used to do in the 90's . . . Like a X-men re-cast . . . Am I the only one who's tired of the 9th Wolverine movie or terrible wanna-be X-men remake?

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#9 Posted by Sobe Cin (602 posts) - - Show Bio

You've lost my interest with Benincio Del Toro as Dr. Strange.

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#10 Posted by Loki9876 (3366 posts) - - Show Bio

I agrre with everything except benicio

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#11 Posted by NightFang3 (12320 posts) - - Show Bio

@Jake Fury said:

@Gambit1024 said:

I agree with all of your picks, but in my perfect world, Liam Neeson would be Dr. Strange



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#12 Posted by Larkin1388 (1826 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree with all your casting choices,

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#13 Posted by hitechlolife (194 posts) - - Show Bio

GDT isn't a great match for director in my opinion. The Hellboy films were lacking.

My choice is Terry Gilliam. Insane, quirky visuals coupled with substance. It'd never happen, but then I'd have never picked Branagh to do Thor.

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#14 Posted by CrimsonTempest (340 posts) - - Show Bio

I actually agree with all the casting choices here. Now if only it can be made into an actual movie... It'd be a Marvel movie I'd see more than once.

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#15 Posted by Neuron (105 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm in. Let's do this.

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#16 Posted by SuperXAsh (573 posts) - - Show Bio

If Guillermo Del Toro would be chosen, it'd undoubtedly have Shuma-Gorath in it.

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#17 Posted by Dedpool (692 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm with JakeFury, Gambit1024 and Night Fang. If we're casting older for Strange then Neeson is my pic. If we're going younger I'd have to say Michael Sheehan (Lcuien from the "Underworld" series) or Adrien Brody.

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#18 Posted by Vortex13 (12140 posts) - - Show Bio

HAHA, love the title of the article it's awesome lol.

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#19 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6958 posts) - - Show Bio

Wow not a bad list! But hasn't Patrick Dempsey voiced quite the interest in playing Stephen Strange? I remember hearing something about that. I agree with Ben Kingsley as Dormammu for sure, and if Benicio Del Toro is on board then no doubt we'll see Shuma-Gorath. I just want a Strange movie to be made already, seriously.

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#20 Posted by z3ro180 (8774 posts) - - Show Bio


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#21 Posted by MetropolisKid41 (523 posts) - - Show Bio

These casting choices are perfect, well done, nice list. 
I really hope there isn't any truth to the Dempsey rumors, that would just kill it for me.  
Isn't going to be Dr. Strange & The Galactic Guardians? Get ready for Rocket Racoon!

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#22 Posted by ImperiousRix (1144 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree about as far as Guillermo Del Toro directing, I think he'd probably be the perfect choice for the project, but not sure about the cast.

Benicio Del Toro for Strange just seems... an odd fit. Strange is supposed to be put-together- proper, well-spoken, and elegant in his mannerisms. Del Toro just seems too disheveled all the time. Even in the Wolfman where he played the nobleman, Lawrence Talbot, he always looked like a mess (on top of not being able to understand what he's saying). If you're going to go with a Latino actor for Strange, I'd go Antonio Banderas, or better yet, Jimmy Smits.

I also think Clea should be a bit older. I love me some Keira Knightley, and I think she'd work as another character (maybe Night Nurse if they do "The Oath" storyline by Brian K. Vaughan), but Clea needs a more commanding presence. Not sure WHO could do it, but that's my suggestion.

The others are good choices, though. I especially like Stephen Chow as Wong. as he'd be able to provide some comic relief and still kick some ass.

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#23 Posted by SUPER-MAN 23 (2667 posts) - - Show Bio

If only movies asked for our opinions...

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#24 Posted by JRBirkhead (3 posts) - - Show Bio

@Gambit1024: Totally agree with you about Liam Neeson. That's who I've always felt would make the best Doctor Strange.

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#25 Posted by Ferro Vida (34318 posts) - - Show Bio

Del Toro would be an excellent choice for a movie like this. Of all the people who could make this film a success, I think he would have the best chances of doing so. For whoever suggested him, I tip my hat.

Del Toro (second one) is an interesting choice, and one that I wouldn't have considered at first. I don't mean to knock his acting chops (I haven't really seen him in enough to do so), but I don't think he would be the best fit here. Someone else mentioned Adrian Brodie's name and my eyes just lit up. He has an impressive acting range and I think he could handle Strange's character pretty well. If you look at The Jacket you'll see that he's got no problem with more psychological scripts, and he would definitely be able to pull of the transition from Surgeon to broken man to Sorcerer Supreme.

I don't really agree with Keira Knightly either. She just doesn't seem to fit, imo. Personally I think Kate Beckinsale would be perfect for the job. But that could just be me.

Stephen Chow and Ben Kingsley are both excellent choices. Bravo.

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#26 Posted by Gambit1024 (10217 posts) - - Show Bio

Here that Marvel? Give us Liam Neeson. He's not doing anything important right now. He's gonna be in the Battleship movie for f*ck's sake!

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#27 Posted by shrmntnk62 (264 posts) - - Show Bio

I've nver been a huge fan of Dr. Strange but I would probablly check this movie out. But I would be first in line if Liam Neeson played Strange. I've also heard somewhere that one of the guys from Grey's Anatomy, Patrick Dempsey I beleive is his name, wanted to play Strange. He looks the part at least and would definatly have a-hole doctor down pat.

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#28 Edited by EdwardWindsor (14580 posts) - - Show Bio

shame Del Toro is so busy now days otherwise this would be totally great.

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#29 Posted by CrimsonAvenger (1288 posts) - - Show Bio

I love me some Guillermo Del Toro, Benicio Del Toro and Kiera Knightley so you have me absolutely sold with your casting choices. I love Liam Neeson but I would never want him to play Doctor Strange. The character should be played by someone whose fame isn't as big as Neeson's.

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#30 Posted by Or35ti (1133 posts) - - Show Bio

Words cannot describe how much I would love to see this happen. Dream come true. Especially the two Del Toro's.

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#31 Edited by Osiris1428 (1424 posts) - - Show Bio

@Sobe Cin said:

You've lost my interest with Benincio Del Toro as Dr. Strange.

HELL NO!!! Benicio Del Toro sounds great!!!!

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#32 Posted by The Impersonator (8295 posts) - - Show Bio

No Baron Mordo?

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#33 Posted by dewboy01 (2362 posts) - - Show Bio
No Caption Provided

I want this guy to play Dr. Strange, he's the perfect fit!!

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#34 Posted by butters911 (615 posts) - - Show Bio

I think Chris Walken would be a great Doc Strange.

Go read any comic with Strange in it and read his lines with Walken's voice in your head and tell me it's not the best Strange has ever been

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#35 Posted by TheBane2890 (1972 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree with almost all of the casting choices, except I would use Benicio Del Toro as Baron Mordo, and cast James Caviezel as Dr. Strange. I don't know how many people saw The Count of Monte Cristo with him, and I don't recommend seeing it, since it wasn't that good, but Caviezel can easily pull off the elegant robes of Stephen Strange and perform well enough to play the role perfectly. He is a good actor, but the Count of Monte Cristo wasn't a bad movie because of his acting, it had many other problems, and not following the book was the biggest!

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#36 Posted by sladewilson30 (238 posts) - - Show Bio

@dewboy01: yes

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#37 Posted by Phaedrusgr (1715 posts) - - Show Bio

Well, I'd love to see David Tennant as Doctor Strange. From Doctor Who to Doctor Strange... He's a magnificent actor (those brits can act, take a look at him as Hamlet), plus he likes fiction (it's essential for the actor to dig the role), so I think he'd be ideal! G. Del Toro as a director? Sounds fun! Go for it...

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#38 Posted by gambitpryde1993 (175 posts) - - Show Bio

Love the director choice. This could solve Del Toro's lack of a magic fix when the studio didn't pick up Mountains of Madness.

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#39 Posted by weaponxxx (429 posts) - - Show Bio

Inspired casting for Benicio Del Toro....I think he'd make a great Stephen Strange

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#40 Posted by ravisher (732 posts) - - Show Bio

robert downey jr as dr strange

why not?

theres no one else

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#41 Posted by savri (53 posts) - - Show Bio

@ravisher: and what happens when Dr. Strange is seen with Iron Man in episode 4?

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#42 Posted by Maki_P (296 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm sold with Guillermo del Toro. And the casting.... I dunno, but dammit Real life Latin Americans starring AND Directing a Marvel Movie? Hell yeah!

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#43 Posted by wdchefdave (136 posts) - - Show Bio

The most obvious choice is Conan O'Brien. Grow the beard... dye the hair!

(Or paint it black with Lawrence Fishburne!) With Jackie Chan as the ancient one.

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#44 Posted by Sheep-Kill (738 posts) - - Show Bio


Director: Del Toro

Doctor Strange: Benicio Del Toro or even James Franco. Either One I think can pull it off. Also a part of me wants to see Daniel Day Lewis to do the part.

Clea: Lauren German

Wonk: Steven Chow, or Tony Jaa.

Ancient One: Jet Lee in make up.

Baron Mordo: Micheal Rooker

Dormmamu: Voiced by Jim Cummings

Nightmare: Voltaire

Thats all I got for now

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#45 Posted by tonis (6561 posts) - - Show Bio

very well chosen across the board, I'd be buying a ticket :)

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#46 Posted by DoomDoomDoom (4404 posts) - - Show Bio

I want to see this movie now!

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#47 Posted by weaponxxx (429 posts) - - Show Bio

Although i'm a little hesitant on Guillermo and Kiera Knightly. They might not be such great fits

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#48 Posted by Saren (27566 posts) - - Show Bio

Liam Neeson. That is all.

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#49 Posted by Mercy_ (94810 posts) - - Show Bio

@CitizenBane said:

Liam Neeson. That is all.

This is all that needs to be said. End thread.

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#50 Posted by Aiden Cross (15726 posts) - - Show Bio

I could see Tom Selleck as Dr. Strange.

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