Joaquin Phoenix Won't Play Doctor Strange After All

Joaquin Phoenix seemed poised to portray Doctor Strange in Marvel’s forthcoming stand-alone film, but reports the actor is no longer in talks for the role.

The search is back on for a big-screen Doctor Strange. Phoenix hadn’t inked a deal, but the Oscar nominee was rumored to be the the studio’s top pick. Other names bandied about were Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jared Leto. Ethan Hawke has also been reported as a frontrunner, but Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. said that is “speculation run wild.”

This isn’t the first time Phoenix’s involvement with a comic-book movie hasn’t come to fruition. He was reportedly in consideration for Lex Luther in Zack Snyder’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” but Jesse Eisenberg is now filling the role instead.

Scott Derrickson (“The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” “The Day the Earth Stood Still”) will direct “Doctor Strange” based on a script most recently written by Jon Spaihts (“Prometheus”). The Marvel movie is currently slated for a July 2016 release.