Here's why Joaquin Phoenix turned down Doctor Strange

Joaquin Phoenix has considered big-budget studio movies several times in the past, only to back out at the last minute. Late last year, his closest brush with blockbuster fare came when he nearly joined Marvel's Cinematic Universe as the lead in Doctor Strange, a role he declined that would eventually go to Benedict Cumberbatch.

Talking to Time Out London, Phoenix has shed some light on why he turns down these roles, citing the emphasis on spectacle over character as the main reason. "When I was younger I was probably a bit of a snob about [taking on blockbuster roles]. But they've gotten better. I've flirted with several of those films, having meetings and getting close, but ultimately it never felt like they'd really be fulfilling," says Phoenix.

"There were too many requirements that went against my instincts for character," he adds. "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, fuck this set-piece, let's focus on the character!' I understand, but it's best I don't do it."

While it's seemingly unlikely that we'll ever spot Phoenix in an effects-laden popcorn movie, he'll happily fork out for a ticket. "I enjoy watching those movies. Did you see the rebooted Star Trek? That kid Chris Pine who plays Kirk is fucking genius. I just don’t know if I want to have the experience of being in them."

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