We also get a glimpse of Cyborg's origin, with his father Dr. Silas Stone taking concern with his son's crime fighting career. This version of Dr. Stone is played by Phil Morris, who has a storied career in various DC Comics-based projects over the last few decades.
Morris played the Martian Manhunter on Smallville and has provided his voice for numerous animated projects, including the Justice League animated series where he played Vandal Savage. Doom Patrol features the return of Morris to the live-action universe, featuring another take on Cyborg's origin.
The actor spoke with ComicBook.com about his return to the DC Universe, revealing details about Doom Patrol and how his love of the comic books influences his approach.
ComicBook.com: What keeps drawing you back to the DC Universe?
Phil Morris: Auditions. No, it is kind of that simple, but what draws me to the DC Universe is my connection to the comic book world. I am a comic book fan full stop. My first comic book I bought in 1966. I've still got it. When I go into these rooms to audition for these characters, I just know them. I've lived with them for decades. I have been doing homework on them, as we all have. I just have the opportunity to go in there and embody this character. So as the actor I come with that skill.
Then as a fan I come with that knowledge. When I marry those two then it creates this character and as I go in and I show this character to producers, writers, directors, whoever, they get it. They see that I'm connected. They feel that I'm connected to this. So that's how my connection continues to proliferate because I love it. I literally I love the world. I think it's a modern mythology and I'm a fan so that's what keeps me coming back man. I'll keep coming back as long they'll have me.
As a father, how do you relate to Dr. Stone? How do you bring your own experiences as a father to this character?
Phil Morris: Well I am a father. I have a 30 year old son. My daughter's ... he's 33 my daughter's going to be 30 so I know what it's like to be a father. I know what it's like to have a dilemma of raising a child, certainly not on this level that Silas and Victor have. But to any parent, it's still commensurate because it's your child. So I bring that organicness. I don't have to act that. When you hear me yell Victor's name in this next episode, that comes from reality, not just me yelling for Victor. That's me yelling for my son. That's my father yelling for me.
It's a real thing, and as I said it, every take I get at that "Victor", every member of the cast looked at me like I was their dad because they've heard that before. So in those instances, there's no acting involved. There's just me trying to get out of my way and have a real relationship that I actually have with a real son in my real life come to the surface.
Where we differ or where we depart is that Silas is a much more coldly calculating character human being than I could ever be. I share so much with my kids, and Silas shares nothing, and that hurts Vic. He certainly doesn't share the parts of the truth that Victor needs to know and that's where they have great conflict.
Interesting. So do all those other versions of Silas Stone kind of affect how you approach the character? How do you reconcile that with what you're doing in your own process?
Phil Morris: The source that I use for Silas are the comics. I don't try to match any performance that I see or hear. I go strictly to the Bible or the Constitution, which are the Cyborg miniseries, the comic book series, the Justice League books. That's where if you really want to know about Cyborg and Silas, that's where you're going to find the deepest relationships and the deepest references. So I go there and going there I see what I need to see. I hear what I need to hear, and then I make my own opinions about what that is. My Silas is far more distant and cold than Joe Morton's [from the Justice League movie]. I'm not that familiar with Carl Lumbly's performance in [Justice League Unlimited]. So I can't speak to that.
But in watching the Justice League movie, [Joe] is much more warm, and considerate, and trying to create a relationship with Victor. My character is ramping this guy who I have a higher calling than Victor knows, and that's to my wife. I've sworn to her that I will keep him safe, and I will do that, and it's making me emotional now that we talk about. Beyond the kids, Victor's conscious knowledge, and that gives me great strength. So that's what I draw on.
How is this project different from the other superhero comic book-type projects that you've been involved with over the years?
Phil Morris: Traditionally, comic books are a modern mythology. So there's a great deal of lessons, morality. In Doom Patrol, I mean that's there, but it takes a back seat to the psychological underpinnings of the characters, and through those underpinnings we find out what their moral compass is all about. They don't bash you over the head with the lesson. They learn the lesson through trial and error, mistakes, journeys, experience, which is what we do as human beings. I really like Doom Patrol for that.
I love it, as a matter of fact, for that reason because it isn't traditional. It's not spoon feeding you a lesson of how to save the universe, or how to save yourself, or save your team. They do it beyond themselves, in spite of themselves. They're dysfunctional as all get out, and I think that's more in keeping with the way the world is as opposed to the way the world we want to see is. That's what I love about Doom Patrol and those characters are as interesting in their psychology as they are interesting in their special abilities.
Did you happen to read any of the Doom Patrol comics that Grant Morrison or Gerard Way had did in recent years?1comments
Phil Morris: I started with the early ones, the ones that started in '63, and went through a dozen of those easy until I was like, "Okay I get what they're doing." Then I moved on to the Grant Morrison stuff, which really kind of threw it ... I mean it just threw everything out the window and started almost fresh. I really, really love that. I like the Gerard Way stuff as well. We happen to be kind of focusing on the Grant Morrison stuff a little bit more because it's so cinematic. It is my opinion. I'm not a producer. I'm not a creator so I don't know. I don't know their internal conversations but the result of it is it's so cinematic. It's so visceral. It's so psychologically engaging that that's really interesting and it's great. As you see, it's great on the screen. They really have done a great job.
Phil Morris can be seen as Dr. Silas Stone in this week's episode of Doom Patrol, called "Donkey Patrol," now streaming on DC Universe.