Sources say Joaquin Phoenix is in the final states of negotiations to play the lead in Marvel’s upcoming "Doctor Strange" movie.

The rumor mill has mentioned several actors being considered for the role of Dr. Stephen Strange in Marvel’s big screen adaptation of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s 1960s comic, including Jon Hamm, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy. Whispers of Phoenix’s involvement emerged in July. Those rumors went so far as to suggest he was in the negotiation process for the role. Some fans expected his involvement to be announced at San Diego Comic-Con, but no announcement was made.

Marvel recently signed Scott Derrickson to direct its "Doctor Strange" movie, but fans are still waiting to find out who will play the former neurosurgeon who becomes “Sorcerer Supreme,” protecting the Earth with his magic. Now reports say that Phoenix will likely indeed become the Doctor. “Despite rumors to the contrary, we’re hearing that Phoenix is absolutely still in line to play Doctor Strange in the Marvel adaptation, with our source telling us that his contract is essentially at the 1 yard line, about to pass into the endzone,” reports Collider.

The three-time Oscar nominee was reportedly up for a role in another superhero film earlier this year. Warner Bros. approached Phoenix to play the ever-scheming Lex Luthor in Zack Snyder's "Batman v Superman." However, he turned down the role, which eventually went to Jesse Eisenberg.

Entertainment Weekly supports this latest report about Phoenix’s likely involvement with Doctor Strange, explaining, “Sources close to the film confirm to EW he is their top choice for the role.”

The "Doctor Strange" movie is part of Marvel’s “phase three” offerings, which includes “Captain America 3,” “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” and “Ant-Man.”

"Doctor Strange" is set for its theatrical release on July 8, 2016.

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment  

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