Doctor Strange is coming. On this, we can bet big money. Marvel President Kevin Feige has expressed great interest (numerous times) in bringing the sorcerer to the big screen in a Marvel movie, preferably as part of the Universe’s Phase Three. We thought we’d know by now who will be playing Dr. Stephen Strange in the standalone movie, but behind-the-scenes wranglings have prevented that reveal… until now.
Joaquin Phoenix’s name has been attached to the role Doctor Strange for some time now, but the Web site ThisIsInfamous now floats the rumor that the part has been offered to Ethan Hawke, and that the Boyhood star accepted over the weekend. Allegedly, Hawke is hammering out final negotiation points, which would include "a six-picture deal" which will be finalized and announced "soon enough."
This isn’t THAT far-fetched, if only because Marvel has hired director Scott Derrickson to helm its Doctor Strange movie, and Ethan Hawke collaborated with the director on Sinister back in 2012.
Is that enough to connect him to the role of Doctor Strange? Not necessarily. You could easily go with Eric Bana, star of Derrickson’s Deliver Us From Evil as well, and it would make as much sense. Heck, many who saw Evil this past summer wanted co-star Edgar Ramirez in the conversation to play Stephen Strange. Maybe it isn’t meant to be.
Back to Ethan Hawke. He would be an interesting choice to play Doctor Strange, for numerous reasons. At age 43, he’s a little long in the tooth to take over a superhero franchise. Then again, it’s not likely Strange will be quite as physically demanding a role as, say, Captain America of Thor. Hawke hasn’t avoided mainstream, tentpole films over the years, having acted in movies like Training Day, Getaway, Assault on Precinct 13 and Gattaca. Always Gattaca. But he’s best known for the verbose Before trilogy he shot with Richard Linklater, as well as this year’s Boyhood, one of the year’s greatest movies.
It is being reported that Hawke is stepping in because Joaquin Phoenix got cold feet over the part of Doctor Strange. Marvel needs to move forward with the hiring of the lead role in the Doctor Strange film so it can aim for that July 2016 release date, as rumored.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.