Yesterday Lainey asked a question—Joaquin or Ethan? Recent rumors have pitted them against each other for Marvel’s latest superhero incarnation, Dr. Strange. Today we have an answer: Neither. According to Badass Digest, they’re both out. Deadline is now reporting the same. When Lainey asked me about this yesterday I said I didn’t want to get into it because the Dr. Strange casting process has taken on mythical beast proportions and so far, everyone’s falling victim to it. It’s grinding up and spitting out names on a near-daily basis.
Marvel did pursue Phoenix, though, and for a couple months. I’m told they went in hard for Phoenix, and he was friendly and open to talks, but in the end, it came down to the thing we all thought it would the moment his name surfaced—Marvel is too big, they want too much. Even a pared-down contract would still involve multiple franchise appearances, and long, involved press tours and appearances (can you imagine Joaquin Phoenix at Comic-Con?). I think it’s great they aimed for someone like Phoenix, but really, did anyone expect him to be able to cope with the Marvel machine? They already go out of their way to coddle Chris Evans through it and he’s barely managing.
The Ethan Hawke rumor seems based mostly on the fact that once Hawke made a movie with Dr. Strange director Scott Derrickson. I side-eyed it from the moment I heard it because of the timing—it came out right as some outlets were doubling-down on Phoenix. But I also have a sneaking suspicion that rumor got floated deliberately. Marvel experienced unprecedented amounts of leaks over the summer and Kevin Feige was Not Happy about it. Heads have rolled, and competing casting rumors is an easy way to identify further leaks.
As for who will end up being Dr. Strange—who knows? At this point, this feels like the process that surrounded Guardians of the Galaxy. A new name every week, some big, some not, but in the end it was guy no one was talking about who nabbed the role. Until Marvel makes their official announcement, I’m sticking with “three-day-old breakfast burrito” as the likeliest contender. Right now, its odds are as good as anyone else’s.
Attached – Ethan Hawke in New York earlier this week.