Back in December of 2013, Variety revealed that DC Comics and Warner Bros. were hoping to secure the services of Joaquin Phoenix to play Lex Luthor in the Batman versus Superman film that would eventually be called "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." That role went to Jesse Eisenberg, but it appears Phoenix may have found his superhero franchise anyway. According to TheWrap's Jeff Sneider, Phoenix is under consideration to star as Doctor Strange in the forthcoming Marvel feature that Scott Derrickson will direct. HuffPost Entertainment contacted representatives for Phoenix and Derrickson to confirm the rumor; this post will be updated if and when they respond.
The search for Doctor Strange has focused on some of Hollywood's best actors over 30. In June, Deadline.com revealed that Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch were on the studio's short list. It was also reported around the same time that Oscar winner Jared Leto was under consideration. Cumberbatch, who is at Comic-Con for the first time this year, fanned the flames of the rumor mill on Thursday when he made a joke that referenced Doctor Strange.
Who is Doctor Strange? Allow Wikipedia to guide the way for non-comic book devotees:
Doctor Strange is a former neurosurgeon who serves as the Sorcerer Supreme — the primary protector of Earth against magical and mystical threats.
Marvel is expected to make a surfeit of announcements during the studio's Comic-Con panel on Saturday evening. Whether the casting of Phoenix as Doctor Strange is revealed remains to be seen, but file this under where there's smoke, there's fire. As Indiewire's The Playlist points out, a Connecticut resident spotted Phoenix at a local comic book store during a break in filming from Woody Allen's new movie, which Phoenix is shooting now. The actor was apparently searching for Doctor Strange comics:
One of the comic book stores in CT had Joaquin Phoenix stop by. He was looking for Dr. Strange comics.
— Kevin. (@KevinInChains) July 18, 2014
For more on the Doctor Strange rumor, head to TheWrap.