Recently, there has been a lot of talk about Hollywood’s erasure of Asians in films. The main target is the upcoming adaptation of ‘The Ghost In The Shell’ starring Scarlett Johansson, but Marvel Studios’ ‘Doctor Strange’ has also come under fire since Tilda Swinton is playing the Ancient One, who is traditionally portrayed in the comics as an elderly Tibetan monk. Now, after staying quiet throughout the commotion, the award-winning actress has spoken up about her thoughts on the controversy.
While promoting her latest film ‘A Bigger Splash’, Swinton shared her thoughts about her character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster. Though she was tight-lipped about details, as most stars of the MCU tend to be, she revealed to Den of Geek that the character’s ethnicity wasn’t specified to her:
“The script that I was presented with did not feature an Asian man for me to play, so that was never a question when I was being asked to do it. It all will be revealed when you see the film, I think. There are very great reasons for us to feel very settled and confident with the decisions that were made. We’re all really looking forward to seeing that film, myself included. I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s made of what we’ve done. We’re feeling really excited and it was a good feeling to make it.”
Presumably, Swinton is unfamiliar with the character’s comic history. We can’t really blame her since there are even Marvel Comics fans that don’t know about Stephen Strange. So if that happens to be the case, she wouldn’t know anything about the supporting cast either. Instead, she only knows what she’s presented with in the script, which happened to be an appealing role for her.
But when she says that things will be uncovered in the film, that seems to jive with Kevin Feige’s previous comments to Entertainment Weekly that stated that “The Ancient One” is more of a title than a person, similar to Strange’s title of Sorcerer Supreme. With a change like that being made in the MCU, who has been known to switch things up while adapting the source material for the screen, it doesn’t really make the gender and race bending as big a deal as casting a clearly Caucasian actress as a character named Allison Ng (Emma Stone in ‘Aloha’), Mindy Park (Mackenzie Davis’ part from ‘The Martian’), or Major Motoko Kusanagi (Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Ghost in the Shell’ role).
What do you think about Tilda Swinton playing the Ancient One in ‘Doctor Strange’? Are you in favor of the changes made to the character for the big screen? Let us know in the comments below.
‘Doctor Strange’ starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benedict Wong, and Mads Mikkelsen emerges on this plane on November 4, 2016.
Despite being a “professional writer”, Ben likes run-on sentences and puns far too much. Also, while representation matters so much, he has other hills to die on. For more of his attempts at being funny and the occasional insightful thought, follow him on Twitter and Instagram.