Sorry, Benedict Cumberbatch fans. It looks like the Sherlock actor is no longer the frontrunner to play Doctor Strange, with Joaquin Phoenix now leading the charge to portray the Marvel superhero.
The news comes after last month’s speculation that both Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy were battling it out to win the role with the two reportedly heading up the studio’s wish list.
But, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Phoenix’s negotiations are “further along than just the offer stage”, although it’s still unclear if he’ll accept the part.
Born Steven Vincent Strange, Marvel’s latest character set for the screen is a neurosurgeon-turned-Sorcerer Supreme who protects Earth against magical and mystical threats. First created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in the early 1960s, he has since featured in video games, an animated TV series and a straight-to-DVD film.
Phoenix – a three-time Oscar nominee – is usually seen in character dramas such as The Master and Her but this isn’t the first time his name has been mentioned in the comic book rumour mill. He was previously offered the role of Lex Luthor in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, although it’s claimed he passed on the opportunity with the part eventually going to Jesse Eisenberg.
Phoenix’s upcoming projects include crime drama Inherent Vice (which reunites him with Walk the Line co-star Reese Witherspoon) and an untitled Woody Allen film opposite Emma Stone.