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Phoenix was in talks for the role in mid-July, but a deal never came to fruition. The leap into the Marvel universe would have been a surprising move for the Her actor, who has spent the most recent years of his career collaborating with auteurs such as Paul Thomas Anderson and Spike Jonze and has steered clear of broad commercial fare.
Scott Derrickson is directing the Marvel feature, and sources say the director and studio are already on the hunt for a new leading man. Names that were floating around for the role before Phoenix landed in talks included Benedict Cumberbatch, Jared Leto and Tom Hardy.
The film centers on the former neurosurgeon who serves as the Sorcerer Supreme — the primary protector of Earth against magical and mystical threats. Doctor Strange made his first appearance in the Marvel Universe more than 50 years ago, and was first created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in the pages of Strange Tales No. 110.
Phoenix will next be seen in Inherent Vice, hitting theaters in December, and he’s wrapped work on the untitled Woody Allen project.
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