In something of a coup for the Disney-owned studio, the Oscar-nominated star of Gladiator, Walk the Line and The Master is said to be in negotiations which have passed the offer stage.
Marvel supremo Kevin Feige revealed in October that a film based on Doctor Strange was in “active development”. The comic book hero, who first debuted in 1963, is a former neurosurgeon who protects the planet against magical and mystical threats in his role as Sorcerer Supreme. He has been described as “the mightiest magician in the cosmos” and as the most powerful humanoid hero of all in the Marvel comics universe.
Marvel, which re-invented Robert Downey Jr as an action hero for the film Iron Man, has since persuaded actors like Robert Redford and Glenn Close to make their comic book movie debuts. Nevertheless, hiring Phoenix, who has mostly cleaved to indie and art house fare since portraying the usurper villain Commodus in 2000’s Gladiator, would be an impressive move.
The studio also has a sequel to the 2012 box office megalith The Avengers and a debut Ant-Man set to hit cinemas next year. A third Captain America film is due in 2016, with Doctor Strange potentially arriving sometime the same year.
by Ben Child