It’s Official. Confirmed. Signed, sealed, and delivered. After months of rumors, negotiations, and close calls, Marvel has officially confirmed that Benedict Cumberbatch will indeed be the star of Doctor Strange, putting an end to the longest casting process since…well probably True Detective Season 2. Regardless, the studio has found its man, and producer Kevin Feige has high praise for the star:
“Stephen Strange’s story requires an actor capable of great depth and sincerity. In 2016, Benedict will show audiences what makes Doctor Strange such a unique and compelling character.”
Scott Derrickson (Sinister) is directing the film from a screenplay by Jon Spaihts. Hit the jump for more on this long road to finding Doctor Strange.
Cumberbatch was one of the very first names that popped up in relation to Marvel’s Doctor Strange movie, as Feige was keen on adapting the property as part of Marvel Studios’ Phase Three. At Comic-Con this summer, Cumberbatch seemed to confirm that talks of some sort between he and Marvel had taken place, but scheduling wasn’t going to work out. Regardless, Marvel was in the process of courting Joaquin Phoenix for the role. Indeed, Phoenix came thisclose to signing on before opting to walk away at the last minute. The actor was understandably wary of the contract commitment and overall effect the role would have on his life going forward, and he ultimately decided a Marvel Movie wasn’t in the cards.
But Cumberbatch is no slouch. The actor is in the heat of the Best Actor Oscar race for his terrific turn in The Imitation Game, and he’s done a fine job of working on a variety of different projects. Sure he played Khan in the high-profile Star Trek Into Darkness, but he also starred in prestigious dramas like 12 Years a Slave and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and even finds time for television with the terrific Sherlock. He most recently completed filming on the Whitey Bulger film Black Mass opposite Johnny Depp, but he’s poised to return to the stage this summer in Hamlet at the Barbican.
Cumberbatch is currently shooting the Sherlock Christmas special and has also committed to another series of the show, and Marvel’s press release confirms that Cumberbatch will indeed be doing a theater stint next summer, which means Doctor Strange likely won’t begin production until next fall or winter. No matter, the November 4, 2016 release date is still a ways off, and Derrickson has been working on this thing for a while already. I imagine Cumberbatch will begin prep work soon, before his stage commitment, so that he’s ready to go before cameras on the Marvel picture directly afterwards.
We’ve already heard another piece of Doctor Strange casting, as reports claim that Daniel Bruhl‘s role in Captain America: Civil War is of the supporting nature before a full-on villain turn in Doctor Strange. We’re a ways off from confirmation on that front, but if you’re unfamiliar with Doctor Strange and the Stephen Strange character, here’s how Marvel officially describes the picture:
The film, directed by Scott Derrickson with Jon Spaihts writing the screenplay, will follow the story of neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a horrific car accident, discovers the hidden world of magic and alternate dimensions.