Back when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was still in the casting stage, Joaquin Phoenix's name cropped up as a potential Lex Luthor. It would have been his biggest film by far as he's largely veered away from major studio flicks, and perhaps that is one reason why talks fell through. But about a month ago his name emerged for another superhero movie, Marvel's Doctor Strange, and while there are quite a few actors rumored for it appears Phoenix has won out.
According to Collider, Phoenix is in final negotiations to play Doctor Strange for Marvel, news which is both surprising and exciting. Unfortunately it's also unconfirmed, and there are other sources out there saying this is far from a done deal, such as Devin Faraci of Badass Digest....
"Joaquin Phoenix met w/ Marvel this week about Strange, but I feel like he may still balk."
The sticking point seems to be the multi-picture deal Phoenix would have to sign. He's notoriously choosy about what projects he takes on, and seeing as Doctor Strange is expected to be Marvel's next major solo franchise post-Iron Man it's going to demand a lot of Phoenix's time. This comes on the heels of an apparently erroneous report stating Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire) was a contender for the role.
If he does agree Phoenix would be joining writer/director Scott Derrickson on the film, which many think will open on July 8th 2016 as part of Marvel's "Third Phase"