Is Joaquin Phoenix Reluctant To Sign On For Doctor Strange?

Joaquin phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix has been circling the title role in Marvel’s Doctor Strange for a while now, and he was supposedly nearing a deal just before San Diego Comic-Con in July. Late last week, we heard that after some long talks with the studio, the three-time Academy Award nominee was in final negotiations for the role… but a new report suggests that he may be getting cold feet.

Not only is Phoenix reluctant to sign one of those famous multi-film Marvel contracts, but he’s supposedly uncomfortable with the way big-budget blockbusters like this are made and may in fact back out of his talks altogether.

The report comes from Badass Digest’s Devin Faraci, whose sources tell him that Collider’s report about the final negotiations last week may have been premature. Marvel wanted to get Phoenix to sign on for the role in time to announce it at Comic-Con, but we all know that that didn’t end up happening. Apparently, the setbacks that kept Phoenix from signing on the dotted line are still causing problems:

“The problems that  that have kept the deal from closing remain, and they go beyond the basic fact that Phoenix is balking at the heavy multi-picture contract. Joaquin Phoenix literally doesn’t know if he can work on this kind of movie. He’s a great actor, and he can play the role. But the Marvel Studios blockbuster machine is full of pre-viz and fight-viz and green screen and massive reshoots. It’s not a world that’s as comfortable for him, and he’s just not certain he can do it.”

Some have long speculated that these exact reasons would keep Phoenix from playing Doctor Strange. There’s no question about his acting ability, as he would easily be one of the biggest and most respectable names to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, he doesn’t have experience with films like this, already passed on playing Lex Luthor in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, and deeply loves his artistic freedom. Even if he does decide to take the plunge and sign on to play the Sorcerer Supreme, there’s a very good chance that he could wind up being Marvel’s next Edward Norton. And we all know what happened there…

We’ll keep you updated on the Doctor Strange casting as more reports come in. Luckily, if Phoenix doesn’t sign on, Marvel has a list of other actors it could turn to, including Boardwalk Empire‘s Jack Huston, Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Deliver Us From Evil‘s Edgar Ramirez, and Jared Leto.

Directed by Sinister‘s Scott Derrickson, Doctor Strange is expected to hit theaters on July 8th, 2016.

About the author


James Garcia

Lego photographer, cinephile, geek. James is 24 and lives in Portland, OR. He writes for several websites about pop culture, film, and TV and runs a video production company with his wife called Gilded Moose Media.