San Diego Comic Con is upon us, and with it comes all of the swirling rumors about the newest casting buzz int he Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel has been making a mint at the box office by producing high budget and high concept adaptations of some of the B-list properties that Marvel, and its parent company Disney, have managed to keep a hold of.
Next week marks the opening of Marvel’s Guardians of The Galaxy, which will be the true test of the Marvel brand name to see if they can make the oft-unheard of comic property float. But on the horizon is Marvel’s next wave, and with that a lot of speculation on who will play Marvel’s sorcerer supreme, Dr. Strange. Names from Joaquin Phoenix and Benedict Cumberbatch to John Hamm and Johnny Depp have been thrown around for the role. We would like to narrow the field a bit, with this exclusive look at who’s NOT going to be showing up as Dr. Strange:
1.) Buster Keaton
Despite being the leading stuntman of his time, it is unlikely Keaton will be showing up on celluloid any time soon. While it’s still unclear if Dr. Strange will provide an action vehicle for it’s main star or something more cerebral, Keaton seems to have left Hollywood for good, despite the occasional cameo in film or television. Keaton stopped acting on the regular in the mid-60s, citing his advanced age and, also, his death from lung cancer. So a comeback, even for a high-dollar prospect like the Marvel films, seems unlikely.
2. Bruce Willis
Probably best well known for his turn as the titular crooning cat burglar Hudson Hawk in a movie bearing that character’s name, Willis would seem like a shoe-in for a movie that hopes to make a skajillion dollars at the box office. However, the drawing power he brought to films like Hudson Hawk, Fire With Fire, Cop Out, and Assassination of a High School President doesn’t seem to be impressing Disney executives. At last report not only was Bruce Willis not high on the list of actors to portray the dark sorcerer with silver streaks in his dark locks, Willis wasn’t even on the list to begin with; crushing the hopes of people who enjoyed his work in Nancy Drew and Rugrats Go Wild. This might also be a disappointment to fans of Willis’s more off-beat and independent films like Die Hard, Die Hard 2: Die Harder, and Die Hard 3: Beavis and Butthead Do America.
3. Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr.’s comeback from drug addiction and Hollywood badboy fame is the stuff of legend. Going from a coked-out smart ass to a major box office draw. However despite his undeniable box office return prowess, it is unlikely that Disney and Marvel will tap this star to jump into the red cape and orange gloves of Stephen Strange. It turns out that Downey Jr. has already established himself as a major draw in the Marvel franchise in the film Iron Man Three. While I’m sure Disney could pull some kind of crossover with the same camera trickery they showed in 1961′s The Parent Trap (starring Haley Mills), the general consensus is that having the same actor in two parts, within the same universe, might prove slightly confusing even for the most stalwart fans.
4. Oprah Winfrey
This Oscar winning juggernaut of mass media won’t be coming to a theater near you as Dr. Stephen Strange. While some backlash has erupted around the seemingly white male-centric projects like Star Wars- Episode VII 3-D: The Desolation of Jared-Syn, it seems that Disney and Marvel are hoping that similar backlash won’t befall them, despite passing over the unquestionable draw that Oprah Winfrey would have at the theaters. Winfrey has a built-in fan base from her years on syndicated television and her turn as a cable network mogul. However that wasn’t enough to tear down gender and color barriers when it comes to the role of Dr. Stephen Strange.
5. Dalton Winfield
In news that will no doubt come as a crushing blow to people who are fans of the underdog; Salina, Kansas 5th Grader Dalton Winfield has been confirmed to be out of the running for the lead role in Marvel’s Dr. Strange movie. A new face to people unfamiliar with the Hollywood fringe, Winfield was cast in Mrs. Balischock’s 5th grade Thanksgiving Day Pagent as Big Chief Friendship, which Winfield’s mom, Mrs. Winfield, described as absolutely wonderful. However even the success of the off-off Broadway stage wasn’t quite enough to keep Winfield in the running. When asked about the rumors that he was up for Dr. Strange Marvel executives only coyly replied “Who the Hell are you talking about?”