Well, maybe Benedict Cumberbatch really is just in Comic-Con for "The Penguins of Madagascar" and "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies." Though the "Star Trek Into Darkness" star had been strongly rumored for the role of Doctor Strange in Marvel's upcoming film (which will be directed by Scott Derrickson), The Wrap is reporting that Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix is in talks to take the part.
If it pans out (and assuming it's not just smoke and mirrors, which it could be), this would be a real coup for Marvel. Phoenix has more cachet than just about every other actor tapped for major roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far, save for maybe Robert Downey Jr. Naturally it's all speculation now, but where there's smoke, there's surely fire and this news coming on the eve of Marvel's big Hall H presentation at Comic-Con signals that the breaking news hounds may have stolen the comic company's thunder ahead of time.
The Wrap report indicates that Phoenix is not likely looking for a multi-picture contract, but given his reported interest in starring as Lex Luthor in Zack Snyder's "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" (a role that eventually went to "Social Network" star Jesse Eisenberg), it does seem clear he has an interest in starring in a comic book property.
Phoenix is a three-time Oscar nominee, previously recognized by the Academy for his work in "Gladiator," "Walk the Line" and "The Master." He'll be seen later this year in Paul Thomas Anderson's "Inherent Vice," a role that could bring him into four-timer territory, and he's also set to star in Woody Allen's currently untitled latest.
We'll find out tomorrow what truth there is to this, but for now, sound off with your thoughts on Phoenix as a potential Doctor Strange in the comments section below.