If Marvel executives are interested, Patrick Dempsey is ready to make magic — the “Grey’s Anatomy” star said Thursday that he’d love to play Doctor Strange in a film or even a television series if the situation was right.
Dempsey is one of the highest paid stars on television but he’s restless to push his career in new directions, which is why he has a prominent role in this summer’s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” and also why he produced and starred in “Flypaper,” the dark bank-heist comedy that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. As he looks for his next movie, he can’t help but think how great it would be to take his on-screen medical practice into a whole different dimension by playing Doctor Strange, the Marvel Comics sorcerer created in 1963 by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee.
“I’ve been lobbying for that,” the 45-year-old actor said. “There’s a whole bunch of people [among the ‘Grey’s’ crew] who are into comics and Marvel, too, on the set and they’re like, ‘Doctor Strange, that’s the one you should do.’ It would be fantastic. It’d be a great TV show, especially for HBO or something like that. I don’t know if I’d necessarily do another show, a drama, that’s 24 episodes again. HBO you’re at 13 and I think that’s much better. It’s just so hard to sustain the quality after three years if you’re doing 24, 25 episodes a year. It all depends on who you have as a writing team — it’s how you set it up, what’s the tone and making sure you’re not locked into this one-season success [mentality], you can’t be afraid to think beyond that.”
There have been many attempts through the years to make a Doctor Strange film (and the character has some live-action television history as well) but the property is clearly gaining momentum. Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, has often mentioned the sorcerer supreme as a priority character and in a Hero Complex chat last December he put the character on an intriguing short list: “I have not been shy about my love for Dr. Strange, Black Panther and Luke Cage.” Last year, the screenwriting team of Thomas Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer was hired by Marvel to come up with a script. There also have been stirrings about a Doctor Strange television series that might be a complement or an alternative to a feature film. I asked Dempsey during our interview in Malibu if he had talked to Feige or Jeph Loeb, Marvel’s head of television.
“He knows what’s going on. There was stuff going on. At Comic-Con they were talking about me playing it and there was a rumor that I’d been cast. I mean, it’s something that’s kind of out there and, you know, I’ve been looking at that. It would be a fun one to do. Hopefully, doing something like ‘Transformers’ is about to show myself in an action situation where I’m not mister-weepy-doctor guy, you know, not McDreamy. You have to change that in people’s view. I’m still hungry for other things. I’d love to play Doctor Strange.”
— Geoff Boucher
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