We haven't had many dark, brooding, intense Nerd Men of the Month before so we're taking care of all those adjectives in one fell swoop with Christopher Eccleston. The man is everywhere this month, gaining the best reviews of anyone in the new "Amelia" film and arriving on DVD in the flick, "G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra." And he's also just been cast in the upcoming film, "The Beautiful Fantastic" with fellow "Doctor Who" alum Carey Mulligan (Sally Sparrow in "Blink"). Also, he appears quite often in my DVD player and the depths of my unconscious. And now he's Nerd Man of the Month for October. It's almost an embarrassment of riches!
Eccleston is well-deserving of universal geek gratitude for helping Russell T. Davies bring the new "Doctor Who" to life. He may not have exhibited quite the fanboy enthusiasm others have in the role -- see "intense"and "brooding" above -- but his performance as The Doctor was simply without flaw. And let's face it, what with the farting aliens and space pigs being thrown in his path, Eccleston's "Who" burden may have been a bit heavier than his successors. He inhabited the role of The Doctor with an incredible energy and the ability to pivot seamlessly between rage, sadness, world-weariness, self-loathing, tenderness and occasionally, sheer unfettered joy. It's an incredible performance and served as the perfect way to usher in an exciting new era of "Who."
Beyond the "Who" realm, the man's just a phenomenal actor. Whether playing the son of God in Russell T. Davies' "The Second Coming" or the dastardly Duke of Norfolk in "Elizabeth" or a hate-filled modern day Iago in "Othello," the guy always gets the job done. Just watch this scene from "Jude," one of the more heartbreaking films you'll ever see, in which Eccleston's stone mason has just been rejected from a university despite his obvious intelligence and gets mocked by, of all people, a student played by David Tennant:
Eccleston possesses quite the nerd genre resume as well with turns in the hugely creepy ghost thriller "The Others," the hungry zombie flick "28 Days Later," a five-episode stint as Claude in "Heroes," and the aforementioned "G.I. Joe," which I intend to get drunk and watch at some point next week.
As with all our Nerd Man honorees, Eccleston just seems like a pleasant, hard-working guy. Even better, he's done loads of charity work for various organizations and is self-depracting enough to make fun of his admittedly unusual but still extraordinary good looks on a regular basis. So, a self-deprecating fellow who helped return "Doctor Who" to the spotlight, who shines in every role he's given and who rocks Elizabethan costuming far more effectively than any man has a right to -- what's not to love? That's why The Park Bench is pleased to name Christopher Eccleston as its Nerd Man of the Month.