‘Doctor Who’ Casting: Did Chiwetel Ejiofor Turn Down the Role?
This past weekend saw the surprisingly unsurprising announcement that 'Doctor Who' would regenerate 55 year-old Scottish actor Peter Capaldi as the next Time Lord, replacing current star Matt Smith at the end of 2013. Shortly thereafter, comments from author Neil Gaiman suggested that a black actor had already rejected the titular 'Doctor Who' role, in spite of speculation that producers might have chosen a different race or gender than Capaldi. So, was Chiwetel Ejiofor almost our first black 'Doctor Who?'
According to the UK's Mirror, inside sources at 'Doctor Who' have reportedly confirmed that the '12 Years A Slave' star was indeed the actor in question to turn down the role. Important to note however, is that Ejiofor supposedly turned down an offer to be the eleventh Doctor over Matt Smith, while Peter Capaldi was producers' first choice for the upcoming twelfth.
From Gaiman's original Tumblr post:
Of course. (I thought I’d said that I was disappointed that it didn’t happen this time, and that there are some amazing actors out there. I was rather disappointed that Paterson Joseph didn’t get it last time, although I’ve loved Matt’s Eleven.) And yes, I have no doubt there will be [a black Doctor]. (I know one black actor who was already offered the part of the Doctor, and who turned it down.) Just as there will be a female Doctor.
The Mirror's sources claim to be “100 percent confident” that Chiwetel Ejiofor was the actor to decline, which fits with Ejiofor previously being rumored for the role alongside 'Pacific Rim' star Idris Elba. In Ejiofor's instance, it was believed he couldn't agree to terms when he was offered the part, though both the actor's agent and the BBC have declined definitive comments.
What say you? Are you still happy with Peter Capaldi's upcoming arrival as the twelfth 'Doctor Who,' or do you wish the franchise had shaken things up? Who do you you think would have been best for the part?