Marvel Studios‘ talks with Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix to play Doctor Strange are kaput. He never had a deal, but Marvel already is getting into it with other actors to play that superhero in a free-standing film. 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. I understand Marvel’s belief that Phoenix would have been great for that role, in keeping with putting solid actors in those hero roles. But Phoenix, whose latest, the Paul Thomas Anderson-directed Inherent Vice, opens this weekend at the New York Film Festival. I’m not sure Phoenix is a Comic-Con kind of guy. Before Marvel started talking with him, the major names in the mix included The Drop‘s Tom Hardy, The Imitation Game’s Benedict Cumberbatch and Dallas Buyers Club‘s Jared Leto, among others. Let the speculation begin anew. After teasing references to the Doctor, most recently he got a shout-out in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Marvel has made this a priority.
Scott Derrickson is directing and Jon Spaihts is writing the script for the pic (the first draft was penned by Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer). Doctor Strange was hatched by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko during that Marvel Comics heyday of the early 1960s. He’s a neurosurgeon who becomes Sorcerer Supreme, protecting Earth against magical and mystical threats with powers of sorcery, mysticism, and martial arts. Marvel’s Kevin Feige is producing.