Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Bill Nighy, The Ninth Doctor Who Almost Was. Sorta...

Nighy as Dr Black in "Vincent and The Doctor"
Bill Nighy probably isn't the only person to turn down the coveted role of the Doctor, but he's one of the few that's broken his silence to talk about it.

In an interview with The People newspaper, he admitted he was offered the role and turned it down. He didn't say when he was offered the role, but it's widely believed it was before the 2005 relaunch of the series as it was mistakenly reported early on that Nighy would be the new Doctor before it was corrected that Christopher Eccleston would become the Ninth Doctor. Back in 2004 on the day that most newspapers reported that Christopher Eccleston had been cast as the Ninth Doctor, the Daily Mail initially claimed in that day’s edition that Nighy had won the coveted role, and  corrected their error online later that same day. Nighy apparently thought the day-to-day job of playing the iconic character would invite intense media attention and eventually turned it down.

“I was offered the role once, I won't tell you when because the rule is that you’re not allowed to say you turned that job down because it’s disrespectful to whoever did it. I will say that I was approached. I didn’t want to be the Doctor. No disrespect to Doctor Who or anything. I just think that it comes with too much baggage.”

And it's hard to argue with his reasoning because at the time and for years before hand he's had a much more lucrative movie career so leaving that for a grueling tv series schedule would have been a bit of a step backward for an actor of his status. At least he graced Series 5 as 'Doctor Black', uncredited as the museum curator who curiously had the same sartorial taste as the 11th Doctor and provided one of the most moving moments in Doctor Who by unwittingly praising Vincent Van Gogh who was in ear-shot thanks to the Doctor to be moved by it. "Vincent and The Doctor" was written by Richard Curtis, the film writer/director that Nighy worked with on "Love Actually" in 2003.

Nighy's digital transformation in "Dead Man's Chest"

Nighy's film credits include "Still Crazy" (1998), "Underworld" (2003), "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" (2006) where he underwent an amazing digital makeup transformation  and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1" (2010) as well as TV dramas, among them Paul Abbott’s "State of Play" (2003), "The Girl in the CafĂ©" (2005) and "Page Eight" (2011).

Later this year, he can be seen with Colin Farrell in the science-fiction movie 'remake' "Total Recall", which seems as though it will be more closely adhering to the late Philip K. Dick's story "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" than did 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger film.

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