A villain from television’s The X-Files is joining the cast of a short film with ties to Sault Ste. Marie.
William B. Davis, who appeared as Cigarette Smoking Man in the science fiction series, will appear as Dr. John Watson in The Doctor’s Case.
Based on a short story by American horror writer Stephen King, The Doctor’s Case begins shooting in British Columbia on Thursday.
Director is James Douglas, son of former Sault Star reporter and Shopper News editor Tom Douglas.
“(Davis) is a world-class theatre and film professional with more varied international artistic experience than the rest of us combined,” said James in an email to The Sault Star. “He has been a gifted and totally committed teacher and mentor to generations of aspiring actors and directors, and will no doubt continue to be for our motley gang of filmmakers and performers.”
Davis, Douglas adds, “also brings a whole new level of ‘geek cred’ to our production.”
The X-Files, which aired on Fox from 1993 to 2002, “is a genre show that made a huge impact on our cultural zeitgeist in North America – and probably the world,” he said.
“To be able to pair William Davis with Denise Crosby (Star Trek: The Next Generation) not only make my heart sing at the opportunity as a director, the science fiction fan in me is jumping for joy,” he said. “As will, I hope, Stephen King’s.”
In 2016, Rolling Stone ranked Cigarette Smoking Man No. 21 in a list of 40 Greatest TV Villains of All Time.
“Played with weathered gravitas by William B. Davis, he is perhaps the prime example of the mastermind model of TV villainy,” Rolling Stone said.
Douglas anticipates Davis will “bring a level of authenticity and gravitas to the role of older Watson that will be of tremendous benefit not only to the production as a whole, but specifically to our young Watson, Michael Coleman, who has both the very exciting, albeit slightly daunting task, of creating his own character for John Watson, while at the same time benefiting from/living up to Mr. Davis’s performance.”
Douglas has viewed every episode of The X-Files “at least twice.”
The Doctor’s Case alternates between Victorian England and 1940 during the Blitz in Great Britain.
King’s story first appeared in The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, a collection of stories celebrating the centennial of Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation of the private detective. The Doctor’s Case centres on the one case solved by Holmes’ assistant, Dr. Watson.
The film’s cast also features Sault Ste. Marie native Joanna Douglas (Being Erica, Happy Town).
Davis, 79, made his big-screen debut in another film based on a King book, The Dead Zone, in 1983.