Joaquin Phoenix is one of the finest actors in his industry, celebrated for his incredible roles, particularly his Oscar-winning performance as the Joker. Being a highly sought-after actor in Hollywood, it is not surprising that the actor was approached by the epic Marvel Cinematic Universe to potentially play two different roles. However, the actor flat-out rejected the offer because he couldn’t hang on to all the commitments that came with the role.


Joaquin Phoenix rejected Marvel’s role over commitment concerns

Image of Joaquin Pheonix
Joaquin Pheonix


Joaquin Phoenix has established himself as a versatile actor known for his ability to immerse himself in the role he plays. The actor was once considered by Marvel for two iconic roles. He was initially approached about taking over the role of the Hulk from Edward Norton in The Avengers, but the part ultimately went to Mark Ruffalo instead.

Mark Ruffalo as Hulk

Marvel also offered him to play the mighty scorers’ role, Doctor Strange, where Phoenix was their top pick. However, the actor turned down both because he was reluctant to sign a multi-movie contract and was concerned about the long-term responsibility and commitment tied to the roles. Later, the role subsequently went to Benedict Cumberbatch and Phoenix ended up playing DC’s Joker, which became a defining role in his whole career.


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Despite declining the roles Joaquin Phoenix values the impact of Marvel in the industry

Benedict Cumberbatch. as Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

In a 2022 interview with Female First, the actor stated that he didn’t regret turning down Marvel roles and admitted he loves their movies. Despite his inability to come to an agreement, both the actor and the franchise parted ways amicably.

“I think that everybody was, is… I’m trying to figure out how to say this most diplomatically, okay… I think everybody was really happy with how things turned out. All parties were satisfied”.


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Phoenix also emphasized that he didn’t reject the roles because he didn’t like them. He expressed his appreciation for Marvel’s work and asserted that their movies are quite relevant to the film industry.

“I think they make some great, fun movies. There’s nothing wrong… I’m not a f***ing, like, cinephile. I’m not a snob and I’m totally fine with… I enjoy those movies sometimes, and I think they keep the f***ing industry going in some ways, so I don’t have a problem with it at all”.

Phoenix’s artistic representation in the industry is viewed as the catalyst that chooses challenging roles that are based on artistic merit rather than commercial success. Besides Joker, his role like Theodor Twombly in Her showcased his ability to bring complex and emotionally nuanced characters to life.


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 A still of Joaquin Pheonix 's Joker
Joaquin Pheonix’s Joker

Thus, Phoenix’s artistic integrity sets him apart from the actors who prioritize box office numbers and, mainstream appeal. Therefore, it is not surprising that the actor has rejected the Marvel offer.

The highly anticipated sequel of Joker, Joker: Folie à Deux has completed its filming and is expected to release in October 2024.  Joaquin Phoenix’s upcoming biopic Napolean, directed by Ridley Scott, will be released in cinemas on November 22, 2023.

Source: Female First

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