Citing "multiple individuals close to the casting process," TheWrap reports that three-time Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix is being considered to star in director Scott Derrickson's film, and has had conversations with the studio. However, there's no deal in place on the eve of Marvel's Hall H presentation at Comic-Con International.
The 39-year-old actor, whose credits include "Gladiator," "Walk the Line" and "The Master," reportedly was approached to play Lex Luthor in Warner Bros.' "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," a role that ultimately went to Jesse Eisenberg.
While Jared Leto, Justin Theroux and Tom Hardy have also been rumored, at one time or another, for "Doctor Strange," the focus turned this week to Cumberbatch, who's making his Comic-Con debut promote "The Penguins of Madagascar" and "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies."
The "Sherlock" star, who suggested in an interview that his schedule would make his involvement in "Doctor Strange" difficult, nevertheless fueled the rumor during the DreamWorks Animation presentation. Asked which superhero he'd like to play, the actor replied, "Nurse Normal."
Marvel hasn't announced a release date for "Doctor Strange," but it's expected to do so on Saturday.
Updated (1:58 p.m.): The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed Phoenix is in talks with Marvel for "Doctor Strange," adding that "the deal is further along than just the offer stage."