Johnny Depp Has Met With Marvel About Starring in ‘Doctor Strange’
It's the worst kept secret in the superhero universe that Marvel is planning 'Doctor Strange' as one of their upcoming movies. He's a big part of the upcoming storyline in Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (assuming, as we all are, they're following the Infinity Gauntlet plot) and we're simply waiting for the official announcement at this point. We don't have confirmation yet on the movie, but we do now have some early reports on who Marvel is talking with to star in the film: Johnny Depp.
Latino Review is reporting that "well-connected sources" have confirmed to them that Marvel has met with Depp to discuss playing the lead role in 'Doctor Strange.' [UPDATE #2: Variety confirms that Depp is in "early talks" to star in 'Doctor Strange.'] Depp, who has worked well with Marvel's parent company, Disney, over the years, would have to push back 'Pirates of the Caribbean 5' to star in 'Doctor Strange' and, according to this report, that's something Disney is willing to consider should Depp agree to star. [UPDATE: Badass Digest is reporting that Depp's original meeting with Marvel was to discuss him voicing Rocket Raccoon in 'Guardians of the Galaxy,' which may mean this 'Doctor Strange' bit could be old-ish news.]
[UPDATE #3: Hoh boy. Now Marvel claims there have been no meetings and no talks with Johnny Depp for any project, including 'Doctor Strange.' Variety has also retracted it's "early talks" confirmation from the previous update.]
Now, here comes the sobering dose of reality.
While we don't doubt Latino Review's sources (far from it, they are proven scoopers), we do doubt that Depp will ever sign on to star in 'Doctor Strange.' Depp may have had some casual interest (he's apparently a big comic book fan) and Marvel would absolutely indulge said interest with a meeting, but beyond that, Depp commands over $20 million a picture. If you look at Marvel's lead actors of late - Chris Pratt, Paul Rudd, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, etc. - none of them commanded large salaries when they were cast. Marvel's biggest star, Robert Downey, Jr., wasn't even the highest-paid actor in the first 'Iron Man' film (that would be the departed Terrence Howard).
Marvel is a lot of things, but they're also very cheap. There have been numerous reports of actors/directors ready to walk away over contract disputes (see: Jon Favreau and Natalie Portman). They believe, and rightly so to some degree, that the characters are the real stars of the movie and they're looking to find great actors, but not necessarily massive stars.
In addition, Marvel has a history of hiring their directors first and then casting their movies. Their last three original films - 'Avengers,' 'Guardians of the Galaxy' and 'Ant-Man' - all had their writer/directors hired before any additional casting choices were made. We'd expect to see a 'Doctor Strange' director announced sooner than we would the actor who would be playing him. (Pro tip: keep an eye on Joe Cornish, who co-wrote 'Ant-Man' with Edgar Wright and just recently dropped out of directing 'Star Trek 3' for Paramount.)
So, while it's a neat idea and a sexy headline, we don't think this one is gonna stick.