Marvel Studios’ first feature film foray into the realm of magic is assembling quite possibly their most impressive cast yet. We knew Doctor Strange might be special when Marvel entered prolonged negotiations with Joaquin Phoenix for the lead role, and while those talks eventually broke down, Benedict Cumberbatch isn’t too shabby of a consolation prize. The studio and director Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) then set about surrounding Cumberbatch with some diverse, exciting choices like Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Mads Mikkelsen, and most pleasantly shocking: Tilda Swinton. And they’re not done yet, as THR now reports that Michael Stuhlbarg is in negotiations to join the cast.
While you may not recognize the name, you’ve no doubt seen Stuhlbarg’s face. The character actor did swell work on the HBO series Boardwalk Empire and lead the Coen Brothers film A Serious Man, and he’s no stranger to blockbuster filmmaking having had a key role in Men in Black 3. Most recently, Stuhlbarg was part of the spectacular ensemble of Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin’s swell bio-drama Steve Jobs, filling the role of Andy Hertzfeld. He most recently wrapped Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi drama Story of Your Life and has a role in Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead, but Doctor Strange certainly marks one of Stuhlbarg’s highest-profile projects to date.
The nature of the actor’s role in the Marvel film is being kept firmly under wraps, although The Wrap reports that he may be playing rival scientist Nicodemus West. Indeed we don’t have too much clarity on who the other actors are playing just yet. Swinton is believed to be filling the role of Cumberbatch’s mentor The Ancient One, with Ejiofor playing friend and eventual foe Baron Mordo. As for McAdams, recent reports suggest she’ll be playing a Night Nurse, but Mikkelsen’s role is also being kept firmly under wraps.
Stuhlbarg’s casting comes as Derrickson prepares to begin production on Doctor Strange next month in London, kicking off a race to the film’s November 4, 2016 release date. Expect more casting announcements in the coming weeks as the start-date looms closer.