The 37-year-old Star Trek: Into Darkness actor and 36-year-old Lawless star are reportedly at the top of Marvel's list to portray the film's title character. The studio moved forward with the adaptation last week, and brought on Scott Derrickson (Sinister) as director.
Dr. Stephen Strange is a neurosurgeon-turned-superhero in the original comics. He serves as the Sorcerer Supreme, and is charged to defend Earth from magical and mystical threats. Strange possesses several magical items, and also draws powers from mystical beings that enhance his abilities as a sorcerer.
Cumberbatch last appeared as the voice of the dragon Smaug in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. He is scheduled to appear in The Imitation Game later this year, and will also reprise his role as Smaug in the final Hobbit movie, The Battle of the Five Armies.
Hardy last starred as the title character in Steven Knight's 2013 film Locke. The actor will appear in a number of upcoming movies, including The Drop and Child 44 later this year.