The search continues for an actor to portray Dr. Stephen Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After prolonged negotiations with Joaquin Phoenix, the actor reportedly dropped out of the running, leading the studio to open up their virtual Rolodex in order to find someone else to play the part. According to a new report from The Wrap, Marvel has four major frontrunners, but here’s the surprising part: Joaquin Phoenix’s name is still among them.
The outlet says that Colin Farrell and Keanu Reeves have joined Benedict Cumberbatch and Joaquin Phoenix as the current frontrunners for the role, although Oscar Isaac, Justin Theroux, and Jared Leto are reportedly still pursuing the character of the Sorcerer Supreme. Cumberbatch was on the studio’s wishlist from the start, and scheduling seems to be the main sticking point with him; he has the new season of “Sherlock” to film in early 2015, plus he’s starring in a London production of Hamlet beginning on August 5th of next year, so that’s a tight window that may end up being too tight to work out. And Phoenix is “not entirely out of the picture just yet,” with speculation that the recent addition of Robert Downey Jr. to Captain America 3 may have given Phoenix second thoughts about dropping out completely, as he now has a better idea of what Marvel plans to do in the future. (I still don’t see him as the kind of actor who would take on a multi-movie deal, but we’ll see how it plays out.)
Farrell, who has locked down a lead role in season two of HBO’s “True Detective,” is a new addition to the Strange conversation, and scheduling could work out for him as he’s finished to wrap “True Detective” right before filming is set to get underway for Doctor Strange. Reeves, who is receiving good notices from his work in the actioner John Wick, is reportedly being eyed by Marvel because of vocal fan suggestions for Reeves to star in Doctor Strange, which seems a little nuts to me (not the idea of Reeves as the lead, but the idea that Marvel listens to the fans to that degree).
Marvel won’t make any announcements about any of this until the deal has been completed, but as of now we still don’t know if any of these guys are really the ones who will ultimately play the part or if an unknown factor may come into the picture and surprise us. Who would you like to see play Doctor Strange in Scott Derrickson’s movie?
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