Short version: let's see Marvel add some different shades to the Marvel movie universe.
Long version: last night, I went to see a midnight screening of “Deliver Us From Evil,” the new supernatural cop movie by director Scott Derrickson. Derrickson's been in the news recently because he was signed by Marvel to direct what may well be one of the most exciting overall projects on the horizon for the company, “Doctor Strange.”
As long as I've been talking to Kevin Feige about Marvel movies, “Doctor Strange” has been one of the titles that he's been most vocal about loving. I would imagine he's going to be heavily involved in making sure the film communicates all the things he loves about the character, and I think Derrickson has an opportunity here to make a big, weird, beautiful Marvel movie.
I've seen lots of speculation about who could play the role, and I know Johnny Depp was rumored to be one of the names in the mix at one point. But after seeing “Deliver Us From Evil,” I have a different idea, and it's one that would make Marvel look progressive and that would potentially launch a movie star instead of forcing Marvel to pay for one.
Hire Edgar Ramirez.
He and Derrickson seem to have an easy rapport based on his performance in “Deliver Us,” and the guy is charismatic as hell. While I'm well aware that Doctor Strange is not Hispanic in the comics, I don't see any reason that he has to be a regular white guy in the movie. What you want is a guy who makes you believe that he believes all the crazy stuff that is part of the “Doctor Strange” universe. Ramirez has a world-class smolder, something that will come in handy for whoever plays Steven Strange. Why not take that natural intensity and turn it to the portrayal of a man who loses everything, only to rebuild it once he discovers the secrets of sorcery? Ramirez can play haunted like nobody's business, and I think Strange is one of Marvel's most damaged characters, especially when you go back to the book's earliest run.
It's going to be important that whoever Derrickson casts in the part is someone he is comfortable with, who's going to be able to handle whatever Derrickson asks of them. Besides, it's obvious Derrickson already has at least considered the idea. There's an exorcism in “Deliver Us From Evil” that convinced me that Ramirez is the right guy. The way he handles the big outrageous nature of what's happening is perfect, and I can easily picture him wielding Strange's powers, facing down bizarre inter-dimensional threats.
More than that, though, casting Ramirez feels like it could be an important move for Marvel. When I was on the set for “Avengers: Age Of Ultron” recently, it was great to see everyone in person, but when you're talking to a parade of guys including Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Jeremy Renner, Robert Downey Jr., and Paul Bettany, just to name a few, it starts to dawn on you just how white the world of Marvel really is. Sure, we've got Rhodey running around in his War Machine suit, and we've got the Falcon now as Captain America's new buddy, but in terms of the main characters, diversity does not seem to be the word of the day. So if the right guy is out there, already comfortable with your filmmaker, and priced right, then why not take this opportunity?
Obviously, they'll cast whoever they want to cast, but I would love to see Ramirez end up in the role.
“Doctor Strange” is in development now, with no firm release date set yet.
“Deliver Us From Evil” is in theaters now.