×

Benedict Cumberbatch Officially Joins Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange’

Benedict Cumberbatch has officially joined Marvel Studio’s “Doctor Strange,” the company said Thursday.

The actor will play neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a horrific car accident, discovers the hidden world of magic and alternate dimensions and becomes the next Sorcerer Supreme and primary protector of Earth against magical and mystical threats. Marvel Comics vets Stan Lee and Steve Ditko co-created the character in 1963.

Cumberbatch’s casting had been in the works since October.

Scott Derrickson is directing the film, to be released Nov. 4, 2016, as part of Marvel’s phase three of superhero movies. Jon Spaihts is writing the script.

“Stephen Strange’s story requires an actor capable of great depth and sincerity,” said Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. “In 2016 Benedict will show audiences what makes Doctor Strange such a unique and compelling character.”

Feige has long wanted the Doctor Strange character to star in his own solo film as a way to make a movie about magic the way “Guardians of the Galaxy” pushes the Marvel movie world into the sci-fi and space genre and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” into political thrillers.

Marvel had been in negotiations with Joaquin Phoenix to take the role but couldn’t reach a deal because of the number of films the thesp would have to agree to make.

In addition to voicing a wolf in DreamWorks Animation’s “The Penguins of Madagascar,” Cumberbatch can currently be seen in “The Imitation Game,” and he will return to the smallscreen as Sherlock Holmes next year in the BBC’s “Sherlock.”

He also voices the dragon Smaug and the Necromancer in New Line’s “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” Other upcoming projects include Scott Cooper’s Whitey Bulger pic “Black Mass,” which also stars Johnny Depp and Joel Edgerton.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • 'Elephant' Review: Less Majestic Than the

    'Elephant,' Narrated by Meghan Markle: Film Review

    Of all the members of the animal kingdom we think of as akin to humans — chimps, dolphins, whales, perhaps (if we’re being honest about it) our dogs — elephants may be the most movingly and preternaturally aware. Because you can see how intelligent they are. You see it in a chimp’s face, too, of [...]

  • Ken Shimura

    Ken Shimura Japanese Comedian Dies of Coronavirus Age 70

    Ken Shimura, a comedian who was a fixture on Japanese television for decades, died on Sunday evening from the coronavirus, the Japanese media reported Monday. He was 70, and immediately before his illness had been set for his first starring role in a feature film. Shimura entered a Tokyo hospital on March 20 with fever [...]

  • Gerard Schurmann, Film and TV Composer,

    Gerard Schurmann, Film and TV Composer, Dies at 96

    Gerard Schurmann, whose 1960s film scores included “The Bedford Incident” and “Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow” but who also composed extensively for the concert hall, died March 24 at his home in the Hollywood Hills. The cause of death was not announced; he was 96. Schurmann’s death was announced by his music publisher, Novello & [...]

  • Rita And Tom Hanks Coronavirus

    Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson Return to U.S. After Coronavirus Diagnosis in Australia

    Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are back home in the U.S. after they revealed they had contracted coronavirus and were quarantined in Australia. Hanks gave an update on Twitter Saturday morning, thanking everyone who had helped them in Australia and assuring people that they are still isolating themselves in the U.S. “Hey, folks…We’re home now [...]

  • Film Comment Magazine Goes on Hiatus

    Film Comment Magazine to Go on Hiatus as Film at Lincoln Center Lays Off Half of Staff

    Many companies are being financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and the Film at Lincoln Center is the latest organization to have to lay off employees and pause some of their operations. On Friday, executive director Lesli Klainberg released a memo announcing that the center had to furlough or lay off about half of its [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content