To this point, Toby Kebbell’s Doctor Doom has been kept a mystery in the marketing for Fantastic Four. We’ve gotten brief glimpses at him, and have heard him say a few lines, but very little has been made officially known about the portrayal of the character. Fortunately, I recently had the chance to talk with Kebbell about his role at San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend, and during our conversation had the chance to lift the veil back on the new Doctor Doom – including the actor’s and the movie’s approach to the classic backstory.
Towards the end the interview, I took the opportunity to ask if Doctor Doom’s comic book origins in Latveria were going to be a part of the character’s arc in Fantastic Four, and while Kebbell told me that it’s material that the movie doesn’t really get into, his approach to his performance and backstory included the core elements of the character ‘s classic story that fans are familiar with. He explained,
For what I was prepping, for what I was creating, my mother got cursed, my father died of exposure looking after me, and I’m crazy mad about it. And now I’m in America trying to be bright and be someone they could be proud of. Yes, I put it in personally, and , you know, I can’t talk as to what it is in the film. I put it in there. I needed it in there.
Toby Kebbell went on to explain how Victor Von Doom fits into the plot of Fantastic Four - which from his description sounds similar to the interpretation found in the Ultimate Fantastic Four comics. We meet him while he is working in the Baxter Building, and he finds himself struggling with the bureaucracy and getting funding stripped from his projects. He’s already embittered because of this, but the presence of the genius Reed Richards (played by Miles Teller) only hurts his ego further.
It’s the extreme ego that Doctor Doom possesses in the comics that Kebbell wound up really centering on in his performance, and found it to really be the most important aspect of the character’s personality. Said the actor,
I know what Doom is: he’s ego driven and anyone who might be better than him or maybe perceived as better than him is what causes him to destruct, to destroy. And that’s all I could play. It didn’t matter what was new or fresh or cool. I know Doom, and it’s the best role… It’s hard to say, because you sound like such an egotistical douche saying, ‘It’s the best role,’ but Doom is the ultimate bad guy. I don’t think anyone is aware of what they’ve got with Doom.
Discussing the character’s name, Kebbell also felt the need to clear the air regarding a false rumor/miscommunication that has been floating around for the last few months: Doctor Doom in Fantastic Four isn’t a hacker. Setting the record straight, he told me,
There was some speculation that he was a hacker and I was like, ‘Where’d that come from? He’s not a hacker. He’s a computer scientist. He’s at this advanced school, Baxter, and that’s where we’re all getting together.
Simply because of the legacy of the character and the actor’s terrific past work, Toby Kebbell’s Doctor Doom is one of the elements we’re looking most forward to seeing in Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four… and the wait is almost over. The film will be in theaters on August 7th.