Remember that time two years back when Joaquin Phoenix was rumored to play the title character in Marvel‘s Doctor Strange? The part ultimately went to Benedict Cumberbatch, but it turns out Phoenix, star of films like the The Master and Inherent Vice, did meet with producers.
The actor tells Time Out London that he has major reservations about blockbuster filmmaking. “I’ve flirted with several of those films, having meetings and getting close, but ultimately it never felt like they’d really be fulfilling,” he says. “There were too many requirements that went against my instincts for character. I’ve been spoiled. I’ve never had to make those compromises. I’ve not met a director yet with one of those films where we go through the script, they say: ‘You know what, f*ck this set-piece, let’s focus on the character!’ I understand, but it’s best I don’t do it.”
While Phoenix has appeared in big movies — he played Emperor Commodus in 2000’s Gladiator — I understand his reluctance to become part of the modern, serialized blockbuster machine. He excels at oddball parts, even if I’m not always a fan of his work. One film I did find him compelling is Inherent Vice, in which his hazy persona worked well within the seemingly distracted story. The qualities that make the parts he plays interesting are the first things ground out of action heavy summer features. Phoenix says he likes to watch those film, but “I don’t want to commit to something and not fulfill those obligations.”
Will he ever find a good franchise fit? Doubtful.
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