With Joaquin Phoenix dropping out of talks earlier this month, Marvel has resumed its search for someone to play Doctor Strange for director Scott Derrickson. According to Badass Digest, the company’s eye has fallen on Ewan McGregor, though nothing has been decided yet, so keep your giant neon rumour sign handy.
According to the site’s source, McGregor has been doing research (which in this case might just be code for “buying a lot of comics and calling it a business expense”) and the studio is looking at him for the role. It makes some sense: he’s a man used to big franchises (expect the part to come with the usual multi-film contract) and has convincingly played someone who uses powers on screen before, though those were Jedi-flavoured.
He’s not the only person in the mystical rumour-sphere for the character, however. Derrickson’s Sinister star Ethan Hawke was being talked about around the time Phoenix dropped out of the running and, more recently, there have been reports about Keanu Reeves possibly taking it on. Reports that he answered by saying, “Would I be good at that? Would I be right for the role?” Which is unhelpfully non-commital. Given that The Matrix set him up for life, we’re not sure how amenable he’d be to a multi-film contract with Marvel.
As for Strange, the character was originally conjured from the brains of Stan Lee and art genius Steve Ditko, and began life as a selfish New York surgeon (named Stephen Strange) who loses his professional skills in a car crash. After falling on hard times, he visits a healer in the Himalayas known as The Ancient One, and learns to tap into psychic and magical powers. In recognition of his selfless efforts to thwart evil fellow disciple Baron Mordo, he’s taught the mystical arts and sets out to defeat other shady sorcerers and various villains.
Jon Spaihts has written the most recent script and regardless of who ends up in the lead, Doctor Strange is set for a UK shoot followed by a July 8, 2016 release date.