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Is Hollywood typecasting? Joaquin Phoenix could play Marvel’s otherworldly Doctor Strange

It looks like one of Hollywood’s most unusual leading men is the top pick to play Doctor Stephen Strange in Marvel’s upcoming comic book adaptation, and we couldn’t be more excited.

Marvel Studios is in talks with Joaquin Phoenix to take on the role of the otherworldly Doctor Strange, a mystical ex-neurosurgeon who uses magic to help defend the earth from evil.

Considering the Oscar-nominated actor’s penchant for unusual behavior, we can’t imagine a better casting choice.

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Doctor Strange was introduced in 1963 by cocreators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko via what are largely considered some pretty far-out illustrations. The character of Doctor Strange is a bit of an oddity, as it’s a rare superhero in the Marvel ‘verse that obtains his powers through magical means. These two factors have contributed to the challenges of producing an adaptation, with visual masterminds like directors Wes Craven and Guillermo del Toro attempting, and then failing, to bring the character to the big screen in the past.

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Phoenix’s irrefutable talent lies in his ability to bring offbeat, unexpected characters to life, however, making him an excellent casting choice for what would undoubtedly be a challenging role to play. Introducing new superheroes to audiences can be a risky business. Actors run the risk of appearing flat in their roles if the characters are mishandled, but we think Phoenix would deliver an exciting dimensionality to the role that would keep audiences engaged and excited about this “new” Marvel character.

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Although this would be a stand-alone film for Phoenix, Doctor Strange has been mentioned in other Marvel movies, and if the character is a success, we’d surely see sequels — something that could be a turnoff for the notoriously elusive actor.

Doctor Strange is currently slated for a 2016 release.

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