Ever since Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige revealed that casting for Doctor Strange would begin within the next couple of months, the speculation as to who will be playing the eponymous sorcerer has reached fever pitch. Actors reportedly in the running include Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jared Leto, the latter of whom recently turned down the lead in sci-fi thriller Brilliance in a move that led many to believe he might have received on a better offer.
An earlier screenplay for Doctor Strange was penned by Thomas Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer, but it is now being revised by Prometheus writer Jon Spaihts - and when the cameras start rolling next spring, director Scott Derrickson will be in charge. This will mark Derrickson's first move into the superhero genre, as he's currently best known for directing horror movies like The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Sinister, and this year's supernatural tale Deliver Us From Evil.
It was during an interview promoting the upcoming release of Deliver Us From Evil that IGN asked actor Édgar Ramírez, who plays a priest and talented exorcist in the movie, whether he had been approached by Derrickson about a role in Doctor Strange. "We're talking," was Ramírez's guarded reply. "We've been talking."
There are a few things to remember before we get too excited about the idea of Ramírez playing Doctor Strange. First of all, he only confirmed that he has been talking with Derrickson about a potential role, and not that he's entered into any kind of official negotiations with Marvel. Secondly, even if he is up for a role there is no guarantee that it's the main character. He could also be a good fit for Strange's nemesis, Baron Mordo, or any number of supporting characters.
If Derrickson is considering Ramírez as a potential actor to play Doctor Strange, it wouldn't be the first time that Ramírez and Cumberbatch have been up for the same role. Ramírez was at one point the top choice to play Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness, but he ultimately passed on the role and it went to Cumberbatch instead.
Ramírez is currently attached to play Bodhi in the upcoming remake of Point Break, the filming schedule for which would not clash with Doctor Strange. He's still a relatively little-known actor, but Marvel has cast unknowns as major characters before (Thor was the movie that launched Chris Hemsworth's career), so it wouldn't be entirely surprising for Ramírez to be handed the lead role. With several other big names on the shortlist, however, he's got a lot of competition.
Doctor Strange is likely to be Marvel Studios’ release planned for July 8th, 2016.