Sensing that time is running out to milk casting rumors, The Wrap reports that Joaquin Phoenix is now the frontrunner to star in Doctor Strange—a role that has had many “frontrunners” linked to it over the years, including Patrick Dempsey, Tom Hardy, Jared Leto, and Benedict Cumberbatch. For what it’s worth, Cumberbatch simultaneously downplayed and stoked those rumors at Comic-Con, where many believe Marvel will officially announce who will take the lead in the Scott Derrickson-directed film during its panel on Saturday, if you could all just wait a minute. But the waiting game is boring; let’s play hungry, hungry pageviews.
As The Wrap reminds, Phoenix’s name was also initially linked to playing Lex Luthor in Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice, which it points to as evidence that Phoenix is at least open to the idea of starring in a blockbuster comic-book movie. It further suggests the possibility that some of Phoenix’s past and present co-stars like Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Emma Stone, and Don Cheadle may have “pitched him on the pros” of being part of a huge superhero franchise. (“You get paid a lot of money and lots of people come to see them,” they tell Phoenix, who nods attentively, just taking it in.)
Anyway, while this likely won’t be confirmed or denied until a maddening, unbearable 24 hours from now, Bleeding Cool adds that Phoenix was recently spotted in a Connecticut comic book stores, reportedly browsing for adventures of the sorcerer surgeon. Also adding credence is the fact that Joaquin Phoenix is, indeed, strange.