Ingrid Oliver is without doubt one of my favorite actresses. I have been a fan of hers for a long while now and I am absolutely thrilled that she is receiving a lot more attention and recognition thanks largely to her role as Osgood in Doctor Who a role that she is set to reprise next year in series 9, thanks Moffat!
However I still feel that she is somewhat underutilized as I think that there are a number of starring roles that she could play.
She seems to be establishing herself as a reliable and versatile character actress with roles like Osgood and Natalie from Peep Show, but really I think she is easily capable of being a leading lady.
In this article I am going to explore why I think she would be a good choice for the comic book super heroine Wonder Woman. Now don’t get me wrong I do not have a problem with Gil Gadot who has been cast in the role for the upcoming DC Cinematic Universe. I have absolutely no idea how she will be and so I am not going to judge her until I have seen her.
This article is not a comment one way or the other on Gil Gadot’s casting. I am simply saying why I feel Ingrid Oliver would be a good choice for the role of DC’s leading heroine.
I will also be looking at who I think would be good for other major Wonder Woman characters too in this article.
Now I realize that with the launch of the DC Cinematic Universe it seems very unlikely that any of these actors will be cast in the role as Warner Bros will probably want actors who are more recognizable to American audiences and as you will see most of my choices are well known British actors.
Still I can always hope and certainly if I were ever put in charge of a Wonder Woman television series then this is who I would cast.
Ingrid Oliver/Wonder Woman
My reasons for Oliver being a good choice for Wonder Woman are pretty much the same as my reasons for her being a good choice for She Hulk.
Oliver I think could play the dashing and charismatic Wonder Woman and the shy and timid Diana Prince perfectly.
That’s the key to finding someone who is great for Wonder Woman or She Hulk or Superman for that matter. You need to get somebody who can be a geek and a conventional, dashing hero and in many ways look like two completely different people.
That’s what made Christopher Reeve’s performance as Superman so celebrated. Reeve really did look every inch the perfect Superman when he put on the cape and tights, yet he also was suitably awkward, bumbling and timid as Clark Kent.
Reeve really helped to sell the quite frankly ridiculous idea that nobody would recognize Clark Kent and Superman as being the same person, including even award winning journalist Lois Lane who regularly had contact with both of them.
Now Wonder Woman’s human identity Diana Prince similarly is portrayed as a mild mannered, timid character who wears glasses and to those who know her she would be the last person they could ever imagine being the Amazonian, 7 foot tall, charismatic super heroine Wonder Woman.
Thus in order for the whole Wonder Woman/Diana Prince dynamic to work just like the Clark Kent/Superman dynamic you need someone like Christopher Reeve who can make themselves look like two totally different people and thus sell the idea that no one is aware there is a super hero right under their nose, including even the people who regularly have contact with both Diana Prince and Wonder Woman.
Ingrid Oliver in my opinion would be the best choice. In real life Oliver has the perfect look for Wonder Woman. She is tall, has raven hair, a larger build and is stunningly gorgeous.
She can also play stronger characters such as her role as Natalie, David Mitchell’s tomboy, butch rapist in Peep Show attests.
However as her most popular role as Osgood demonstrates she can also play shy, nervous, awkward, geeky sweet characters too.
With this in mind its not too hard to see how she’d be a good fit for the character.
I think Oliver would be every bit as good in the role of Wonder Woman as Reeve was as Superman. There are very few actors out there who I think are actually versatile enough to pull off both sides of heroes like Wonder Woman, Superman and She Hulk’s personalities. That’s incidentely why I don’t think any actor has ever been quite as good as Christopher Reeve in the role of Superman.
I am not saying that all of the actors who have played Superman since have been poor, quite to the contrary I have enjoyed the likes of Tom Welling and Brandon Routh in the role, but I don’t think anyone has really been able to sell the idea of Clark Kent and Superman not being recognized as the same person as well as Christopher Reeve. Similarly I don’t think there are many people who could really capture both the charisma and sex appeal of Wonder Woman as well as the shyness and awkwardness of Diana Prince.
Steve Trevor/ Tom Ellis
Now Steve Trevor is a very important character in the Wonder Woman mythos. He is really in many ways the first male damsel in distress, the first proper reversal of stereotypical gender roles.
The character is often portrayed as a more old fashioned, dashing man’s man’s type of hero and thus you often need to cast a fairly straight forward, likable charismatic actor in the role.
Over the years he has been played by the likes of Lyle Waggoner in the 70’s live action Wonder Woman television series and Nathan Fillion in the animated Wonder Woman film.
Tom Ellis is one of my favorite actors. He’s everything you could want for Steve Trevor. He is tall, handsome, charismatic and very light too. Whilst he is a very versatile actor having played a number of both villainous and heroic roles as well as many serious and dramatic parts, I think he is particularly good at playing very straight forward, instantly likable heroes. Not all actors can do that, a lot of actors who are fabulous leading men such as Aidan Turner for instance I feel still often have an intensity to them regardless of whatever role they are playing. Tom however much like Nathan Fillion I feel can seem very relaxed, laid back and very easy to trust right away which is what you want for Trevor.
Tom Ellis is best known to genre fans for his roles in Merlin as the evil king Cenred, Doctor Who as Tom Milligan, Martha Jones love interest who is murdered by John Simm’s version of the Master, and finally as the first Robin Hood in Once Upon A Time. To mainstream audiences in the United Kingdom however he is probably best known as Gary Miranda’s love interest in Miranda.
Personally I have always found him to be somewhat wasted in these roles. His character in Merlin for instance was sadly killed off after just one series whilst he was replaced as Robin Hood after one episode. It was due to his commitments to Miranda that he sadly had to leave the role. Still he has always made whatever role he has been given very memorable in my opinion and I would love to see him tackle the role of Steve Trevor which I feel he would be superb in.
Ares/Mars/ Clancy Brown
Mars or Ares as he was more commonly known was Wonder Woman’s archenemy during the golden age of comics. Though he would later be surpassed by the likes of Circe and Cheetah he has remained a constant thorn in the Amazonian princesses side throughout her entire career.
Ares has been featured in a lot of other media relating to Wonder Woman including the DCAU and Wonder Woman animated movie and he has attracted such big names as Michael York and Alfred Molina to play him.
Now Clancy Brown is a name that is probably familiar to most comic book fans. He has played dozens of comic book baddies but probably his most famous role is as Superman’s archenemy Lex Luthor. Brown first began playing Lex in Superman the animated series and went on to reprise the role in both Justice League and Justice League Unlimited as well as many other animated movies and television series. He has played the role more times than any other actor save Michael Rosenbaum and over a longer period of time than any other actor too.
His most famous live action role however is probably as The Kurgan the main villain in the first Highlander film. To me the Kurgan is the one of cinema’s greatest villains. He is a savage monster who loves torturing, killing and even raping innocent people, he is absolute evil through and through and you can tell Brown absolutely relishes in playing the character.
Here he is in action. PS the song is by Queen. How many villains are badass enough to have their own theme provided by one of the greatest rock bands of all time.
Brown would be the best choice for Ares as he would be able to capture both Ares cunning and his savagery.
Ares like Lex needs to be a calm and manipulative menace, but like The Kurgan he needs to be a brutal and bloodthirsty warrior that revels in chaos.
Also who better to play a villain, a comic book villain than Brown anyway?
Doctor Psycho/Jason Watkins
One of Wonder Woman’s vilest villains, Doctor Psycho is also one of her longest serving. He a unhinged misogynist was really the perfect enemy to one of the first major female super heroes which is probably why he has stuck around for so long.
Watkins as I’m sure many of you will know is an actor I have a very high opinion of. His star seems to be on the rise as recently won a Bafta for his moving performance as the wrongly accused Christopher Jeffries.
However to me he will always be the sinister Vampire leader Herrick in Being Human. He is a perfect, icy villain, he’s like Donald Pleasance as Blofeld, unnerving, icy, sadistic and yet oddly charismatic at the same time.
I can easily see Watkins as Pscyho. Not only would he be able to capture the characters lunacy and unstable nature but physically I think he would be a good choice for the character too.
Now Lucy Lawless has often been suggested for Wonder Woman. Its certainly not hard to see why. She looks every inch the perfect Wonder Woman and she has actually already played the character in animation before as well, however I don’t think she would be quite as good as Ingrid Oliver as I am not sure if Lucy Lawless could play the shy and retiring Diana Prince as well as Oliver. She did play nerdy characters in Xena including Annie Xena’s number 1 fan, but Annie was a more comical, exaggerated performance. It was very entertaining comedic performance from Lawless in what was essentially an episode of Xena that was a parody, but in a proper live action film or television series I am not sure how it would work.
Lawless is an extremely talented actress, but I think she is perhaps a bit too charismatic to be the demure Diana Prince. Like I said before you need somebody who can be both the geek and the hero.
However I do think Lawless would be perfect for Wonder Woman’s enemy Giganta. Giganta similarly calls for a tall amazonian type of actress like Lawless. Lawless I think also makes an effective villain too as demonstrated by her performance as Lucretia and even Xena herself when she was evil.
Circe/ Katie McGrath
One of Wonder Woman’s archenemies Circe is a powerful goddess with a wicked sense of humor and delight in humiliating her enemies.
I’d love to see Katie McGrath in this role. The evil witch who relishes in making her enemies pay and suffer really based on her performance as Morgana in Merlin would fit her like a glove.
Cheetah/ Michelle Gomez
Michelle Gomez is a truly charismatic, engaging one in a billion performer and this is coming from a guy with a historic dislike of Missy remember.
Yes obviously I was not a fan of Missy but there were many reasons for that. I am not keen on gender bending time lords as they make a female Doctor more likely and I do NOT want that. Its obviously not due to a problem with female heroes (that would be ironic given the subject of this article wouldn’t it!) Or because of a problem with transgender characters of which I feel there should be more. A female Doctor to me would just look out of place and ruin the consistency of the character and regeneration overall so I don’t like it.
Also I famously don’t like the idea of the Master being in love with the Doctor. That’s just not the character at all, and I prefer the Master to be a more restrained, calm, manipulative character rather than an out and out psycho too.
Michelle Gomez wasn’t bad objectively as Missy, but she just wasn’t the Master for this blogger.
Anyway I still love Michelle. May not be a Missy fan, but I am a Michelle fan and I would love to see her play a comic book baddie. Her naturally over the top and charismatic persona would be perfectly suited to a villain like Cheetah, and her dark exotic looks would make her quite a good match for the character too.
I also think Michelle’s sense of humor would work with the character as well. That’s often the appeal of these more colorful villains like The Joker and Cheetah is the way they are able to do these horrible things yet make you laugh and I think you need somebody like Michelle whose comedy was always very black anyway to really pull that off.
Take a look at this scene of her murdering ironically Ingrid Oliver of all people to see what I mean
That Michelle is truly evil. Imagine killing Osgood the most adorable Whovian. Its like strangeling Bambi!
Definitely Ingrid as Wonder Woman and Michelle as her cat eyed, unhinged nemesis is something I and I’m sure many people would want to see.
Thanks for reading and let me know what you think of my casting choices!