Benedict Cumberbatch, the British actor in-line for a possible Oscar nomination for The Imitation Game, is in negotiations to play Marvel's Doctor Strange in a movie slated for July 8, 2016.

Benedict CumberbatchBenedict Cumberbatch could be going from playing Alan Turing to Doctor Strange

A couple of weeks ago we reported that Ryan Gosling had taken the usual step of opening talks to play the character - set to be one of the biggest new heroes in the Marvel movie canon. However, those talks appear to have failed, and rumors of Jared Leto, Tom Hardy, Justin Theroux, Ethan Hawke or Keanu Reeves taking the role appear to be just that.

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According to the Hollywood Reporter - which first reported the latest news - Cumberbatch was actually an early contender for the role after Phoenix dropped out. However, his schedule included commitments to theatre and that was a conflict for Marvel. Now, the studio has agreed to make the movie later than previously agreed and Cumberbatch is available.

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The actor is probably a safer bet for Marvel, in that he's more widely known than Phoenix given his starring role in the Sherlock franchise. He'll also find even more global fame once awards season begins hotting up - Cumberbatch will almost certainly be Oscar nominated for The Imitation Game and could end up winning the award. Michael Keaton is the current favourite to win, though Birdman - the movie in which he plays a once-great actor - is relatively avant-garde and shouldn't be in contention for Best Picture.

Doctor Strange is being directed by Scott Derrickson and follows the Sorcerer Supreme - the primary protector of Earth created by Stan Lee more than 50 years ago. 

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