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Marvel Studios' Doctor Strange has had a lot of names rumored to be in contention for the titular role. In fact, it ranks up there with most rumored names for any comic hero in recent memory. We've seen everyone from Jon Hamm to Jack Huston suggested for the role, with Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and even Daniel Radcliffe being whispered in lower tones as contenders in between. Out of all the names rumored in contention for the role, though, it looks like it all comes down to the most interesting name mentioned in the pack: Joaquin Phoenix.
At least that's what Collider is running with, as they are claiming exclusive knowledge that after almost a month of radio silence, Phoenix is in "final negotiations" to play the gifted neurosurgeon turned practitioner of the magical arts known as Doctor Strange. According to sources, the reasoning for the delay in the negotiations is that, naturally, Joaquin Phoenix isn't going to want to be bound by a Marvel contract that prevents his work on smaller films akin to Paul Thomas Anderson's upcoming Inherent Vice. This isn't that weird, considering that his rumored involvement with not only Doctor Strange but also Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice have been two of the most surprising developments in the superhero game as of late. Of course, if the former experience turns out to be more like the latter, the most recently-rumored Jack Huston might just have a shot after all.
With nearly two complete phases of films almost under their belt, Marvel Studios looks to be kicking things into high gear with their Phase Three development, and with that exciting prospect comes a lot of uncharted territory. While we will be seeing sequels like Captain America 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy 2, the studio is also starting some new franchises with newer kids on the block like Ant-Man, Doctor Strange and others. With this new territory is going to come some new actors, and those new actors are going to be carrying a brand that big names like Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans have brought to prominence. Landing Joaquin Phoenix for Doctor Strange would not only be a great piece of fascinating casting, it would be a credit towards ensuring the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Of course, we all know how quickly "final negotiations" can turn into nothing when it comes to Marvel Studios.Remember, it was once reported that Adam McKay was in such stages of negotiations to direct Ant-Man, only to see it turn to dust. For now, Joaquin Phoenix is the front runner, and it's up to Marvel Studios to either confirm or deny this news in short order. Of course with the Marvel Cinematic Universe ruling the comic movie world at this point, they could confirm at any damned time they wanted to and we'd still be waiting with baited breath.
In the meantime, you'll be able to see Joaquin Phoenix play a different type of Doc in P.T. Anderson's Inherent Vice, which is scheduled to drop on December 12, 2014.