Denying other rumors on the subject, including recent speculation that Daniel Radcliffe would play Marvel's sorcerer, Collider reports that negotiations with Joaquin Phoenix are about to cross the finish line.
Jared Leto, Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Adrien Brody, Joseph Gordon-Levitt... The rumor mill has churned out the names of several in-demand actors (and some less relevant ones) in connection with Marvel's "Doctor Strange" movie.
By mid-July, Joaquin Phoenix seemed to have emerged as the front runner, so much so that the studio was expected to announce him as Doctor Strange at Comic-Con in San Diego. But the lack of confirmation from Marvel in the following weeks led the trades to assume the actor had backed out of the project. Now, however, Collider's source indicates that the "Her" star is still in late talks for the role.
Collider speculates that negotiations may have been slowed by Phoenix's aim to avoid a contract that would lock him in for several films over the coming years, as has been the case for Samuel L. Jackson and Chris Evans. The actor may be reticent to commit to a series of effects-heavy, big-budget movies.
Joaquin Phoenix was previously approached by Marvel's rival DC Comics to play the villain Lex Luthor in "Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice," although the role ultimately went to Jesse Eisenberg ("The Double").
Created in 1963, Doctor Strange is a former surgeon who becomes a sorcerer to protect the Earth from malevolent mystical forces. The character appears in certain episodes of "Fantastic Four" and "Spider-Man," among other Marvel comics.