IGN TV: Doctor Strange is known for saying some interesting things during his incantations.
Jack Coleman: Yes, there were lots and lots of colorful incantations. I’ve been known to come forth with some colorful incantations, but they’re probably more identifiable and less family friendly.
IGN: Probably the most famous from Marvel comics is, “By the hoary hosts of Hoggoth!” Do you get to say that or anything similar to it?
Coleman: I say something very similar to that, yes. There was no shortage of incantations! [Laughs]
IGN: Doctor Strange, over the years, has had different iterations. He’s been very stoic. Sometimes he seems almost a little bit hippy-ish. What’s the take on Doctor Strange in The Ultimate Spider-Man?
Coleman: I think a tiny bit hippy-ish may not be too far off the mark. Although, there’s not a whole lot of sitting around and navel-gazing. Let’s just say there is a strong imperative in the story to get to a solution. We were sort of on it right away, but anybody that has an interest that Stephen Strange has has probably got a little bit of an alternative view on the world.
IGN: Can you talk a bit about the crisis that Spider-Man brings to your door?
Coleman: The entire city has been cast in a spell that has lulled it to sleep. The city is all a-snooze and sort of lost in their own nightmare — Nightmare being played by Mark Hamill. Spider-Man has come to me and needs help to wake the city from its slumber.
IGN: Animated series sometimes record actors on their own, sometimes you’re in a group. Do you get to record with the other actors on this one?
Coleman: I started out just reading with Drake [Bell - who plays Spider-Man] and Greg [Cipes - who plays Iron Fist]. Mark was not there. I kind of laid down the lines without really knowing what it looked like and what it was going to be like. Then I came back later and kind of got to revisit the entire performance, which I was very happy about because, frankly, it needed it! Nobody else was saying it, but when I saw it I was like, “Oh, yes. I’m very happy to get another shot.” So yeah, that’s how that went. Part of it is because not seeing the animation and not working with Mark — you’re pretty much in a little bubble. So it was very nice to get another crack it.
IGN: Obviously, it’s a crisis. There’s not a lot of time for him to think it over, but what do you think Doctor Strange makes of Spider-Man and Iron Fist, these two superhero teenagers, showing up at his door?
Coleman: I don’t think he has a problem with it. That’s kind of his world, and they know each other. I think they kind of know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, stuff like that. I didn’t get the sense that this was an imposition. I think Doctor Strange just thought, “Okay, what’s going on?” You know, all those things like how a doctor is fascinated by some exotic disease. I think that there is an element of that with Doctor Strange and Spider-Man. You know, “What is it that’s happening, and what can we do about it?” I don’t think there’s any sense of, “You damn kids, get off my lawn!”
IGN: With Heroes and now with this, you’ve been involved with several superhero stories. Were you a comic book reader growing up?
Coleman: I was a Spidey fan as a kid. I always liked the complexity and the teenaged angst that Spider-Man, Peter Parker, always had to deal with. It was kind of a deeper, darker storytelling that just good-guy-beats-bad-guy. There was wrestling with self-doubt and all the things that teenagers really wrestle with. I think that when you are a teenager and you read their stories, I really do think it’s one of the reasons why Spider-Man has been so popular for so long. It’s really appealed to the sense of aspirations that kids have and the sense of adventure, but also the feeling of trying to assure themselves that they are good enough and that they belong. Being a teenager is very, very tricky. I think that’s one of the things that’s always appealed to me. I think it’s appealed to a lot of people over the years.
GN: I know that Greg Grunberg is in this very same episode as you as Uncle Ben, and Adrian Pasdar has been Iron Man on the show. Do you think Jeph Loeb is just going to get all of you “Heroes” on the show eventually?
Coleman: Well, he called me up and said, “I’m trying to put the old band back together,” which I loved. The only downside is that we were never in the same room at the same time, so we didn’t get to work together. I didn’t even realize until just recently that Grunny was in this same episode. I knew that he was doing episodes and I knew that Adrian was doing episodes and playing Tony Stark, but I did not know that Grunny was in the same episode as me until just recently.
IGN: That’s very funny. The strangeness of animation I guess.
Coleman: I know, exactly. It really is interesting.
IGN: Might you appear in future episodes as this character?
Coleman: You know, I don’t know. They did this one little thing, literally a sort of passing by Spider-Man in the hallway and saying, “Hello, Spider-Man.” But yeah, I would be very happy to do more. I’m not sure whether that’s happening or not.
IGN: I wanted ask you about some of your other work you’ve been doing this past year. Thursday nights were Jack Coleman nights at some point this past TV season.
Coleman: [Laughs] But you had to switch channels.
IGN: You had to switch channels, yes! On The Office, it seems pretty clear who the father of that baby actually is, but it’s not totally out in the open. Do you think that might be confronted early on in this next season?
Coleman: I think it might be. I would be loath to jump to too many conclusions, and this is not based on my knowledge of anything. I just know that they have a very contrarian streak over there. As soon as you think you know what something is, it isn’t. I don’t necessarily know if it’s Dwight’s baby. It might just sort of confound all indications. It could be mine, I don’t know. I’m not sure.
IGN: Meanwhile, Oscar’s been very determined that you have a secret you’ve been keeping.
Coleman: [Laughs] Well, that secret seems fairly out of the box, if you will, on the last episode of the season. Yeah, that was a fairly aggressive move on the Senator’s part. Frankly, I’m all for that because I think that’s actually the most fun, playing a character like that — somebody who’s kind of all over the place. I think everybody who walks away just feels like, “Wait a minute, was he just hitting on me?” That’s more fun than just being kind of earnest and unable to provide husbandly duties. I think that’s much more interesting to have him kind of aggressive and maybe a little sleazy.
IGN: I’m a big fan of Vampire Diaries. Your character had a very interesting relationship with Caroline. Although, unfortunately on that show, parental figures don’t seem to have a very long life…
Coleman: No, they don’t, which was fine with me because when they called they basically said, “We’d love for you to come down and do a three-episode arc. As you may know, the parents don’t live long on our show. So you will almost undoubtedly die a spectacular — maybe heroic — death.” So I said, “Sure, I’d be happy to do that.” Then, on the third episode, they said they wanted to add a couple more episodes, so I ended up doing five. But I always knew it was a short-lived thing. I can tell you that flying back and forth between LA and Atlanta — two flights for each episode — I would have been very happy to unpack my bags for a while, but the never unpacking of the bags is something that is not an easy thing to do.
IGN: In that handful of episodes, you got to run quite the gamut of emotions between father and daughter. They certainly had their ups and downs.
Coleman: Yes, another bad dad. Yeah, the thing that I like about these characters — the thing Bill Forbes and Noah Bennet both had in common — was that what you want and what you feel you need to do are at odds. You want to have a loving, safe relationship with your child, but you can’t because you have to do these things to protect them or protect them from themselves – or try to make sure they don’t become a vampire! Your desires and your needs are in opposition, and that’s always fun to play.