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'Doctor Strange' Candidates: Leto, Isaac, McConaughey, McGregor, Gyllenhaal and Hawke

It feels like we've been playing the Doctor Strange casting game for decades now. Whether it was rumors of Joseph Gordon-Levitt or Jon Hamm, or Joaquin Phoenix being one signature away from winning the role, Marvel Studios has been trying to cast the very important Phase Three role for too long now.

Variety unleashed a set of candidates for the role on Wednesday, breaking down six actors who could be the next big star of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Jared Leto
His name was previously linked to Doctor Strange when Marvel first started meeting with actors about the role. Sources tell Variety the recent Oscar-winner is aggressively pursuing the mystical part since Phoenix's departure and despite being notoriously picky about his movie roles, appears ready to get back in front of the camera. "Doctor Strange," somewhat of a rockstar in the Marvel universe, could be the perfect fit for him.

Oscar Isaac
Marvel has an inside look at his Jedi prowess in Disney's "Star Wars" reboot. Perhaps the actor, after acclaimed turns in “Inside Llewyn Davis” and the upcoming “A Most Violent Year," is ready for another Disney tentpole.

Matthew McConaughey
It's unclear whether the "Interstellar" actor could even take on Doctor Strange given his busy schedule, but Marvel believes that, after drawing interest from Phoenix, the studio can get anyone in the room and execs want a star for the part.

Ewan McGregor
The actor has a total of nine films currently in development and hasn't starred in a major tentpole since his days playing young Obi-Wan in the “Star Wars” prequels. But as BadAss Digest previously reported, he's expected to meet for the role and could have a few more tricks up his sleeve.

Jake Gyllenhaal
Sources say the actor is quite interested in playing a superhero after a string of dark, brooding films like "Prisoners" and "Nightcrawlers," both of which earned the actor rave reviews. Years ago, Gyllenhaal was close to replacing Tobey Maguire in “Spiderman 2” before Maguire came back to the role. It looks like he's still very intrigued with the comicbook realm.

Ethan Hawke
Hawke, star of Richard Linklater's acclaimed "Boyhood," pursued the role early on and it looks like he's still very much in the mix.

Out of all these names, Jared Leto and Ewan McGregor are the two that excite me the most. (Matthew McConaughey will never join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.) Leto's name first came up in June. The fact that it's still circulating and Leto is reportedly "aggressively pursuing" the role of Doctor Strange bodes well for his chances. Marvel would get an Oscar winner who doesn't come with a studio actor persona.

McGregor would also be great, but I would hate to see him leading Doctor Strange take away from our chances of getting an Obi-Wan Kenobi movie or trilogy.

That said, Jake Gyllenhaal winning the role would be an interesting turn for his career. As Variety notes, he almost replaced Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 2. It's amazing to see how far superhero movies have come since then, something that Gyllenhaal could benefit from if he wins the role of Doctor Strange.

Doctor Strange is set to open on July 8, 2016, so Marvel is going to have to make a casting move soon.
'Doctor Strange' Candidates: Leto, Isaac, McConaughey, McGregor, Gyllenhaal and Hawke Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 10/15/2014 Rating: 5

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