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Report: Joaquin Phoenix in Final Talks to Play the Lead in Marvel’s DOCTOR STRANGE

Normally you need Level 10 S.H.I.E.L.D. clearance to get your hands on a juicy Marvel scoop, but the folks over at Collider must have whispered “Hail Hydra” to the right person at Marvel Studios because they’re reporting that Joaquin Phoenix is in final talks to star in Doctor Strange as Stephen Strange, Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme. This comes hot on the heels of rumors that Boardwalk Empire’s Jack Huston would be playing Marvel’s mystic, but evidently it was just that: a rumor. Phoenix’s name has been floated around in the Marvel rumor mill as a potential addition to the Scott Derrickson-directed Phase III film since back in mid-July, but it appears now that “the contract is essentially at the 1 yard line, about to pass into the endzone.” For you non sports-fans out there, this means that they’re essentially one arc reactor short of an Iron Man suit, but don’t worry because Tony Stark is slaving away as we speak.

The length of time it’s taken Phoenix to finalize the contract lead many to believe that it would fall through at the last minute, but it seems more likely that the sticking point is related to the number of films for which Phoenix would be contractually obligated. Given Phoenix’s somewhat notorious temperament, it comes as no surprise that he would want to make sure he has the freedom to pursue other projects outside Marvel’s ever-swelling superhero franchises. This isn’t out of the ordinary for Marvel either; to put things in perspective, Samuel L. Jackson signed an nine-picture deal beginning with 2008’s Iron Man, and Chris Evans only signed on with Marvel for six films. You know, one for each Infinity Gem or Stone or whatever the hell you want to call them.

Given Phoenix’s incredible range and acting ability, this seems like a real coup for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as they continue their tradition of dynamic, sometimes unconventional casting choices. After seeing Phoenix’s work in everything from The Master to Gladiator to Walk the Line, I have no doubt in my mind that he’ll be a brilliant choice to play the arrogant surgeon turned master of mysticism. Now, that it’s looking likelier and likelier that Phoenix will be playing Doctor Strange, we can turn our attention to the biggest question in the MCU: who will be playing Wong?


What do you think of this casting choice? Let us know in the comments below or tell me on Twitter.

[HT: Collider]

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  1. iccaro says:

    I think he would be a horrible choice. Aside from his psychotic break rapper persona there is little evidence to suggest he has any approaching range.

  2. Leo says:

    The guy’s a terrific actor, so I’m very optimistic with these news. Just to think we’ll get to see movies made with these underground heroes, man…We live in exciting times!

  3. Steve Hager says:

    Can we start campaigning now for Chow Yun Fat to play Wong, his roles in Bullet Proof Monk and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon make him the obvious choice to be the sidekick supreme. A little older, a little wiser with just a glint of off color humor very close to the way Wong is portrayed in the Lionsgate direct-to-video-market animated production. Also he has the acting chops to go toe-to-toe with Phoenix.

  4. wadebran says:

    Is he really difficult to work with?  Directors and his fellow actors say otherwise.  This whole reputation seems to stem from the time he was shooting his mock documentary and appeared on talk shows ‘in character’ as a comic version of himself.  Plus he doesn’t like to give straightforward interviews.  I agree that he may not stick around for more than the bare minimum of films but I think he’ll be great in the role.

  5. RedwoodCoast says:

    He can do estranged well.   But I don’t think he can do the pompous egomaniacal that is the Dr. Strange comic book character.   It would be like doing what Tim Burton has done to the whole planet of the apes reboot.  ICKY. ICKY. ICKY.

  6. Derp McGerp says:

    Nope. Not a good idea.
    I don’t believe he’d be a team player and stick around for other films, and we’d see Dr. Strange have to be recast very quickly.
    Joaquin is great, don’t get me wrong, but these are Marvel films.  Actors need to be selected that are willing to play in many films, and I just seem him thinking he’s better than that.

  7. BJ says:

    If asked to come up with an someone to play Doctor Strange he wouldn’t even have come to mind, but I think it could work.

  8. Neek says:

    he’s too difficult to work with afaik. This could blow up in Marvel’s face like the Edward Norton Hulk did. Would be a shame really. 

  9. Lisa says:

    No, no no no no!  Pedro Pascal! 

    • Getting super attached to a particular person in a particular role is not the best idea. 99% of the time your top choices won’t even be considered.

  10. Ravn says:

    I still think Jack Huston would have been cool in the role, but I think this is a great decision… IF its true! I think JOAQUIN PHOENIX is a really good actor, I think he would be an interesting addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and present a fun contrast to RDJ and Chris Evans.