Marvel’s sights have been set on quirkster extraordinaire, Joaquin Phoenix, for the title role in Doctor Strange for some time now. Since this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, the studio behemoth have reportedly been pursuing the actor in order to secure his involvement. To be frank, the ‘news’ about Doctor Strange has thus far been based primarily on gossip, rumours and many unreliable sources. Now, however, we’re hearing from Deadline – a more reputable outlet – that Phoenix is officially off the project.
This could be directly related to yesterday’s news from This Is Infamous, who allegedly had it on good authority that indie fave Ethan Hawke was in talks. In fact, they went so far as to say he’d “progressed into contract talks with a six-picture deal.” Hawke’s name has been linked to the project for some time now, possibly due to his previous professional relationship with Doctor Strange director, Scott Derrickson. The pair worked together on domestic horror, Sinister, leading to talk of this future collaboration for Marvel.
That’s all water under the bridge now, though, as both actors are off the shortlist according to Deadline, who say that Phoenix’s deal is now “kaput.” They then knock out Hawke, telling readers “Don’t believe these talks that Boyhood‘s Ethan Hawke has made a deal to play the character; I’m told reliably that that is speculation run wild.”
Now, it’s back to the drawing board for Marvel. With a script already in place courtesy of Prometheus scribe Jon Spaihts, and a release date penned in, the studio will likely be entertaining new candidates. The Drop‘s Tom Hardy, Dallas Buyers Club‘s Jared Leto and Sherlock‘s Benedict Cumberbatch were three of the bigger names in the hat many moons ago, could one of them be back in discussion for the role?
Whether or not they are still considerations for the studio is unknown. But you can expect more rumours, speculation and hopefully an official announcement on who will play the Sorcerer Supreme very soon.
Doctor Strange opens on July 8th, 2016.