Five Roles for Christopher Eccleston

Five Roles for Eccleston
Photo collage by Lisa Kay Tate

For those who haven’t heard, there’s a little superhero movie out this month about  the God of Thunder and a lanky, hot villain… Malekith.

Thought I was going to say Loki, didn’t you?

Yes, Tom Hiddleston is a great actor and he comes across as a genuinely great guy, but he isn’t lacking in his fandom. Christopher Eccleston, on the other hand has been, by comparison, pretty under-exposed in the Thor: The Dark World. Yes, I am fully aware Loki steals the show in the sequel.

I’ll also concede part of this may be his own fault, when he makes honest, but ill-timed comments to reporters along the lines of “I never liked comic books” when promoting a comic book-based franchise, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deliver a fantastic (no Whovian pun intended) performance in his roles.

I also noticed he suffers from the Alan Rickman syndrome of being so good in villain roles, it’s hard to picture him as a protagonist, with exception to the Ninth Doctor, of course.

Should he and those fierce blue eyes of his ever search for that perfect leading role, here are four heroes, plus one villain, I would love to see Eccleston take on:

The Shadow. I expressed my long-time affection for the classic, noir-ish character, Lamont Cranston (aka The Shadow) in a recent Comic Book Corner, including a mention of my disdain for horrible 1990s movie. Since the wonderful, yet rarely movie buff grapevine, mentioned future attempts to revive the character, including on-again-off-again rumors of Sam Raimi wanting to do a Shadow project, I’ve been tempted to get ahold of a super 8 camera and make one myself with sock puppets. This likely won’t happen, so I hope to at least send a telepathic message to whatever director eventually takes this on and let them know no one would be better for this part then Eccleston. He looks like Cranston, he moves like Cranston (at least in my mind), and he has a classic dark elegance to him that needs to be lurking under that coat and hat.

Bigby Wolf. After circling the “will it ever happen” drain for a couple of years, it was finally announced last summer that, yes, Bill Willingham’s spectacular Fables series would be movie. I was at first giddy about this, then exceptionally skeptical, because bad casting would ruin this story. My greatest concern was who would play arguably the best character in the book, Bigby Wolf. Bigby isn’t pretty, but he certainly has the right blend of gritty and gruff, mixed with humor and wit that has made him a fan favorite. I think Eccleston could pull this off quite well. I hope he lets me know if he wants this one, because if not, I’m handing it over to Liam Neeson or Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

James Bond. I’m not looking to replace Daniel Craig anytime soon, but I’ve heard Eccleston express he affection for the character once or twice, and I hope he considers throwing his hat into the ring. Bond is aging, and the story-lines are reflecting that, so a seasoned-yet-still-suave, 50-ish 007 wouldn’t be too much of a stretch. Plus, who wouldn’t want to hear him say, “shaken, not stirred” in that Manchester accent?

Julius Caesar. Doctor Who fans have seen the meme of the uncanny resemblance this infamous Roman leader has to Eccleston, but it isn’t just about looks. Eccleston has been so original and successful in his stage and screen adaptations of William Shakespeare’s tortured prince, Hamlet, and manipulative and maniacal Othello foe Iago, it’s time to see him take on another of The Bard’s tales. Since one of my favorite trends has been the many creative Shakespeare productions set in non-Shakespearean times, this would be great set in modern day, unless he really has an urge to wear a toga.

The Joker. Remember when Zack Snyder announced Ben Affleck would be the next Batman, and half the Internet erupted in blind fury while everyone at Marvel did a gleeful “screw you, DC” high-five? Just vaguely? Good times. Anyway, I think the best way to redeem this “interesting” choice of what has been my favorite comic superhero since I could barely walk, would be to bring in an eccentric, wiry and absolutely over-the-top Joker. I’m not the only one who would love to see this, as there are several “fan art” concepts out there of people’s idea of how Eccleston would look bleached out with green hair, and some of them are actually not bad. Take a look at his work in Othello and Revengers Tragedy, and tell me he doesn’t play crazy well? Yes, Heath Ledger was brilliant in the role, but Snyder has established this is a different universe, so let’s run with it.

Now that it has been established I spend too much time thinking about these things, I hope I’ve at least given fellow Eccleston fans something to muse over. Hey, we can dream, can’t we?

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Read GeekMom Kelly’s review of Thor 2: The Dark World here.

Lisa Kay Tate is a veteran feature writer with 20 years experience in newspaper, magazine and freelance writing. In addition to serving as Associate Editor for her local arts and entertainment guide, El Paso Scene, she has been a regular contributor to the site ihogeek.com and maintains her own blogsite at lisathegeekmom.wordpress.com. She and her husband, writer/photographer Rick, live on the edge of "New Texico" where they keep busy raising their two geeklings and sharing space with their dog, Sirius Black, and cat, Loki.