When considering the filmography of contemporary leading stars, Ryan Gosling strikes one as particularly intriguing. The Barbie alum’s repertoire as an actor showcases the versatility he possesses. The 43-year-old actor seems to have done it all, starring in everything from romantic dramas and romantic comedies to neo-noir action comedies, sci-fi, thrillers, and even crime dramas.
Read more: Ryan Gosling Breaks Silence On Barbie 2
Despite his bankable stature in Hollywood, there’s one genre that the actor came close to starring in but has never actively subscribed to. We are, of course, talking about superhero films. Even though viewers haven’t seen Gosling headline such CGI-heavy, action-packed franchise tentpoles, the actor was considered for some of them.
You’d be shocked to know that among these was the MCU’s 2016 Benedict Cumberbatch starrer Doctor Strange, for which the La La Land star was in discussions to embody the titular role. If this hasn’t stunned you yet, perhaps throwing Suicide Squad in the mix would? Jared Leto’s bizarre iteration of the Joker was initially proposed to Gosling!
But these possibilities fell through for specific reasons. Let’s understand why.
Ryan Gosling Was In Discussions To Star In Doctor Strange (2016)
A protracted casting process defined the endeavor’s pre-production before the first Doctor Strange film could begin with its filming. Director Scott Derrickson and screenwriter Jon Spaihts had their eyes set on to-be leading star Benedict Cumberbatch from the beginning. Nailing Stephen Strange’s casting was crucial for his role in future MCU endeavors, and Cumberbatch was seen as best-fitted to embody the part.
At the moment, though, the Sherlock alum’s participation appeared bleak despite significant media championing. This is because he had declared his commitment to other engagements, namely a London production of Hamlet. (via MTV)
Soon, Joaquin Phoenix would enter the ring as a likely contender. However, the actor would eventually back out, prompting Marvel to look for more faces. The studio reportedly considered names like Jared Leto, Ethan Hawke, Keanu Reeves, Oscar Isaac, Jake Gyllenhaal, etc. Amidst the search, Ryan Gosling also entered the picture.
THR claims that at the time, it appeared as though the Blue Valentine star was easing into tackling a franchise tentpole. The publication even attested to Gosling’s reported meeting with Marvel Studios to discuss the titular role. The sources, nonetheless, remained uncertain whether the actor would proceed with the endeavor.
Ultimately, it all circled back to Benedict Cumberbatch. After Marvel Studios modified the film’s production schedule to accommodate the Atonement star’s commitments, he was officially cast as Stephen Strange. And the rest is history as we know it.
Doctor Strange (2016) would amass $677.8 million at the worldwide box office with its second installment, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), raking in $955.8 million. For Gosling, the $1.6 billion Marvel film series might have been a successful venture. But imagining him as Stephen over Cumberbatch does pose a difficult task for MCU enjoyers.
Ryan Gosling Was Wary Of A Multi-Film Deal When It Came To Suicide Squad (2016)
Around that time, Gosling was also being considered for the role of The Joker in 2016’s Suicide Squad. Although the David Ayer-directed project received unfavorable reviews from critics, it made a tidy $747 million at the box office. Years before Barbie, Ryan Gosling could have starred alongside Margot Robbie if he had accepted Warner Bros.’s offer.
The Drive alum, however, was apparently not too keen on signing a multi-film agreement, according to The Wrap. Jared Leto was ultimately chosen to embody Suicide Squad‘s iteration of Joker. Given the multiple-picture deal, it is crucial to highlight that Leto’s Joker would only ever return in Zack Snyder’s Justice League. That was merely a cameo, too.
With how critically panned Leto’s depiction was, we can only wonder if Gosling would have done the supervillain justice.
When it comes to a potential big-budget, CGI-heavy superhero stint, the Crazy, Stupid, Love alum did allude to wanting to play Captain Canada or Ghost Rider (via IndieWire). Whether these dreams would ever come to fruition remains to be seen. We are confident that Ryan Gosling’s fans will continue to offer their unwavering support for whichever project the actor decides to take on soon.
Doctor Strange (2016) is available for streaming on Disney+. Meanwhile, Suicide Squad (2016) can be viewed on Max.