At the end of last month, Joaquin Phoenix emerged as an apparent contender for Marvel’s anticipated Doctor Strange, a film that the studio has had its eye on producing for quite some time now.

Recent weeks have proven fruitless in terms of an official announcement from the studio, with a rumour surfacing in the past couple of days that Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire) is circling the role. But rumours being rumours, especially when it comes to comic book movies, you have to take things with a pinch of salt.

And whilst the same goes for this latest news, the source is much more reliable, with a source close to the project describing Joaquin Phoenix as being very close to signing a contract to take the lead as Steven Strange, better known as Doctor Strange.

The character was of course name-dropped in the Marvel Cinematic Universe earlier this year when he got a mention in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which seemed like a strong indication that Marvel was finally gearing up to make this a reality in Phase Three.

Scott Derrickson is signed on to direct, with a script first penned by Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer and subsequently rewritten by Jon Spaihts, with Kevin Feige naturally producing.

Phoenix is coming off the back of reuniting with James Gray for his award-winning Cannes debutant, The Immigrant, and is of course still riding high from Spike Jonze’s Her. He’ll next be seen reteaming with Paul Thomas Anderson for Inherent Vice, which has its world premiere as the Centrepiece of the NYFF in October, and could well emerge as an Oscar contender.

No official word yet on when Doctor Strange will be released, but early expectations are for Marvel to release it after Cap 3 on July 8th, 2016.