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Why Joaquin Phoenix Lost Doctor Strange Role To Benedict Cumberbatch, Director Explains

Phoenix didn’t belong to the MCU, the director says.

News reported Joaquin Phoenix as a possible choice for Doctor Strange in 2014, but the actor later dropped out of the talks. The ‘Doctor Strange’ director, Scott Derrickson, explained why to /Film in a recent chat:

“I met with a bunch of actors, and Joaquin was the one that I spent the most time with. As we continued to talk, it became clear to me that Joaquin didn’t really belong in that movie and probably never belonged in the MCU. He’s a very specific guy with very specific goals as an actor, and a very specific way of performing. I think it became clear to both of us that this might not be a good fit, really is what it came down to.”

The Studio Changed Schedule To Get Cumberbatch

Phoenix was in a list of names considered for the role along with Benedict Cumberbatch, Ryan Gosling, Jared Leto, Tom Hardy, Justin Theroux, Keanu Reeves, and Ethan Hawke. But the actor had no experience with franchise movies before the auditions:

“I think what [Phoenix] was very nervous about was he’d be committing to multiple movies, which is not the kind of thing he’s ever done. I just went back to Kevin [Feige] and I just said, ‘We have to move the date because it’s got to be Benedict.’ Kevin went to [Disney CEO] Bob Iger and [then-Walt Disney Studios chairman] Alan Horn, and told them what I said. To their credit, they moved the date and it became a fall movie.”

Both Actors Will Be Back For More Comic Book Projects

The release date for ‘Doctor Strange’ moved from July 8, 2016, to November that year. The third film in the franchise, ‘Multiverse of Madness,’ came out six years later in 2022.

Cumberbatch said last year that he’d be back on the set in 2024 to shoot more scenes as the Marvel hero for future movies.

Meanwhile, a trailer for Phoenix’s ‘Joker: Folie à Deux’ dropped in early April. The sequel will hit the big screen on October 4, 2024, and feature Lady Gaga as Harley Quinn.

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