Edgar Wright Would Like To Play The 14th Doctor On Doctor Who [Exclusive]

Edgar Wright told me to write that headline.

We're supposed to be talking about "Last Night in Soho," the director's stylish new horror movie (which I enjoyed very much), but I can't help myself. I've spent the pandemic finally giving in and watching "Doctor Who," the beloved and long-running science fiction series about an immortal time traveler and his many adventures across the cosmos. I love it. I love it in the same way I have always loved "Star Trek," with its vast universal of infinite storytelling possibilities. And like any new fan, I engrossed myself in trivia, learning as much as I could about "Doctor Who" history as I watched.

One thing I learned: "Doctor Who" showrunner Russell T. Davies offered a young filmmaker named Edgar Wright a chance to direct the pilot for the revived series, which would relaunch with Christopher Eccleston taking on the iconic role of the galaxy-saving Doctor. But Wright, who was best known at the time for directing the acclaimed (and still-great) sitcom "Spaced," declined. He was too busy making some little movie called "Shaun of the Dead."

But with Davies returning to "Doctor Who" after the conclusion of the next season of the show (which will see the departure of current series star Jodie Whittaker, who plays the 13th iteration of the Doctor, and current showrunner Chris Chibnall), would Wright entertain the thought of taking him up on that old offer? Would Edgar Wright take the time to step behind the camera for an episode of the most famous TV series to ever emerge from the United Kingdom? I had to ask. 

"Can I Be The Doctor?"

In short: Wright wouldn't commit one way or another. 

"I mean, I always feel that it's a dangerous thing to [commit to]," he told me with a laugh. "I don't want [a headline] to say 'Edgar Wright to Direct Doctor Who Episode' and nobody's asked me." 

Which is fair! However, acclaimed filmmakers like "Kill List" and "High-Rise" director Ben Wheatley have directed episodes of the series, so it's not entirely out of the realm of possibility for Wright to get an invite. "I'm friends with Russell, actually, and I just read that he's coming back," Wright said. "I don't know, that's up to them. Usually it's a schedule thing."

Surely every kid growing up in the U.K. harbors some lingering desire to get involved in the Doctor's adventures, right? And Wright made it very, very clear that he's an old school "Who" fan. In fact, he used to read the novelizations of episodes back in the day. Which led to this delightful tangent in the middle of our conversation about "Last Night in Soho":

 "I was such a big "Doctor Who" fan growing up, and I think in a weird way, to the point where I would read the novelizations. I would read the Target novelizations, and sometimes the Target novelizations would conjure images in your head that the TV show could not live up to. I know the Autons are great, but reading those books, my image of what the Autons would be like in 'Spearhead from Space' or 'Terror of the Autons' would not quite match when I watched the actual episode. But strangely, they then sort of had an influence on things like "The World's End." And bizarrely, when [my film] 'The World's End' came out, somebody said, 'Was this based on the Tom Baker episode 'The Android Invasion'?', and I was like, 'I've never seen that one.' But then I thought, wait, I've read the novelization. And then I watched it, and watching 'The Android Invasion,' it was kind of like, this is like watching a very low budget version of 'The World's End.' [laughs] 

Bizarrely, a lot of those Tom Baker ones in the '70s were ripped off from Quatermass or some Hammer films, and Nigel Kneale was apparently sort of furious with the 'Doctor Who' team for what he thought that the '70s period of "Doctor Who" was ripping off 'Quatermass.' There's a movie called 'The Earth Dies Screaming,' directed by Terence Fisher, which has exactly the same plot as 'The Android Invasion.' So it's kind of that strange thing where these ideas bounce around in the subconscious, and you're not even aware that you've maybe ripped something off."

Ultimately, Wright wouldn't give be a clear answer about whether he'd actually say yes or no to directing "Doctor Who" if offered. But he did leave me with a request:

"Can I be The Doctor? If the headline is 'Edgar Wright Would Like to Play 14th Doctor', I'd go along with that."

How could I say no to that?