Last week, Collider broke the news that Joaquin Phoenix is (still? again?) in final talks to play Doctor Strange for Marvel. Other movie scoopers immediately objected, saying that the deal was unlikely because Phoenix had serious objections to signing the long term contract Marvel requires (generally nine films, with at least two exceptions). Badass Digest has reported that Phoenix’s reservations go much deeper.
First of all, they report that Marvel planned to unveil the casting at San Diego Comic-Con, exactly the way they announced Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk. Sources have told them that although Marvel did their best, they could not make the deal in time. Which is obvious, since six or so weeks later we still don’t have any official word on the role.
Next they make a claim that sounds pretty credible: Phoenix isn’t sure he is capable of working on a Marvel movie. He may be one of the greatest actors of his generation, but “the Marvel Studios blockbuster machine is full of pre-viz and fight-viz and green screen and massive reshoots. It's not a world that's as comfortable for him, and he's just not certain he can do it.” If that is true, no wonder he’s balking at a multi-picture deal. Can you imagine entering that world, realizing that you hate it/are bad at it, and being stuck making 5-8 more movies? Nightmare scenario.
Knowing your limitations is a particular type of genius, and I kind of admire Phoenix for recognizing his own. At the same time, Marvel’s casting has been impeccable thus far, so if they are pursuing him this hard, I kind of hope he’ll take the part. Sarah Finn hasn’t let us down yet.