Imagine Joaquin Phoenix as Doctor Strange instead of Benedict Cumberbatch. What about Jared Leto? Those scenarios could have been a reality, the British actor recently revealed during an interview with Empire magazine.
Cumberbatch thought scheduling conflicts would prevent him from taking the titular role in the upcoming Marvel movie.
The Sherlock star committed three months to a stage production of Hamlet in London. This was at the same time production was set to begin on Doctor Strange. Oops.
Marvel began looking at other actors to fill the role.
However, director Scott Derrickson was determined to have Cumberbatch play the Sorcerer Supreme. He convinced the studio to delay production in order to accommodate the actor’s schedule. So Doctor Strange’s release was changed from summer 2016 to fall.
The decision surprised Cumberbatch but also motivated him:
“I really did think I had to kiss it goodbye. If you can’t jump on board when the ride’s going past, that’s usually it. So the hugest compliment they paid me way to come back to me. It motivated me to try to fulfill their faith in me.”
Cumberbatch plays Dr. Stephen Strange, a neurosurgeon who loses the use of his hands after a car crash. He goes in search of a cure, discovering The Ancient One and other worlds.
Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Mads Mikkelsen also star.
Doctor Strange will be released in theaters on November 4, 2016.