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The Ancient One's gender is in the eye of the beholder says Tilda Swinton

12.31.2015

Tilda Swinton is no stranger to playing androgynous roles, but her upcoming role as The Ancient One in DOCTOR STRANGE may give them all a run for their money. The character of The Ancient One has traditionally been depicted as that of an older Asian male, so the casting of Tilda Swinton in the role is definitely a switch. During a recent conversation with Entertainment Weekly, the actress was asked straight up whether she was playing The Ancient One as a man or a woman.

I wouldn’t know how to answer that one. I think it’s all in the eye of the beholder.

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige elaborated:

Look, she’s a chameleon in everything she does, she has this amazing [ability to] harness of this androgynous sense. So, we use the term ‘her’ and ‘she’ in the film but, other than that, it’s very androgynous. Because it doesn’t matter.

As a big Swinton fan, I can't wait to see what she'll do with the role in DOCTOR STRANGE, and Kevin Feige also seems excited by what switching around the character will bring to the film.

We’re never afraid to change, in the comic books, Jarvis is an elderly butler. In the movies, he’s an A.I. system which becomes Paul Bettany’s Vision. We are always looking for ways to change. I think if you look at some of the early incarnations of the Ancient One in the comics, they are what we would consider today to be quite, sort of, stereotypical. They don’t hold up to what would work today. Also, within the storyline of the comics, and our movie, ‘the Ancient One’ is a title that many people have had. We hit very early on on, What if the Ancient One was a woman? What if the title had been passed and the current Ancient One is a woman? Oh, that’s an interesting idea. [Clicks fingers.] Tilda Swinton! Whoah! And it just hit.

DOCTOR STRANGE is set for a November 4, 2016 release.

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Extra Tidbit: This will be my final post of 2015, so I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy new year! Stay safe, have fun, and watch a movie...or three.
Source: EW

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11:12AM on 01/01/2016
So a David Bowie-ish Ancient One then? Whatever.
So a David Bowie-ish Ancient One then? Whatever.
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1:13AM on 01/01/2016
I'll be honest I cannot wait for this movie and I love Tilda as an actress and almost everything she is in. But I fucking hate this casting. I've said it a million times that I am a purist and I won't apologize for it. I rebel against any gender/race change. I want the characters as close as possible to what made the comics famous. You know Hollywood goes on and on lately forcing diversity into situations when its not called for. But when it has a chance to cast an actual minority that is more
I'll be honest I cannot wait for this movie and I love Tilda as an actress and almost everything she is in. But I fucking hate this casting. I've said it a million times that I am a purist and I won't apologize for it. I rebel against any gender/race change. I want the characters as close as possible to what made the comics famous. You know Hollywood goes on and on lately forcing diversity into situations when its not called for. But when it has a chance to cast an actual minority that is more unrepresented than African Americans or women as a whole, that would be an Asian male, it gives the role to a white woman. I'm all for diveristy, but I am for creating new characters or elevating existing ones so that there is a diverse crowd of characters. I don't believe in giving away a minority role to another race/gender anymore than I am for giving away a white male role to another race/gender. Sigh...but still can't wait for this fucking movie!
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1:47AM on 01/01/2016
oh boo hoo, somethings just arent going to work. And having the stereotypical asian just wouldnt work. Sure I would like to see some of the Asian villains on screen. But with the Asian market being one of the biggest. Thats just not going to happen.
oh boo hoo, somethings just arent going to work. And having the stereotypical asian just wouldnt work. Sure I would like to see some of the Asian villains on screen. But with the Asian market being one of the biggest. Thats just not going to happen.
4:40AM on 01/01/2016
you know who else was a purist? Hitler...
you know who else was a purist? Hitler...
1:28PM on 01/01/2016
Well, it would have bee a 'stereotypical Asian guy' only if portrayed this way !
They could have change the character for him to NOT be stereotypical, without changing his race and gender... Hell, it could even have been a Asian WOMAN...
It doesn't diminish Tilda Swinton's talent, obviously.
Well, it would have bee a 'stereotypical Asian guy' only if portrayed this way !
They could have change the character for him to NOT be stereotypical, without changing his race and gender... Hell, it could even have been a Asian WOMAN...
It doesn't diminish Tilda Swinton's talent, obviously.
11:32PM on 01/01/2016
Wopo. I am with you 100%. I am very excited for this. Cumberbatch is amazing and he looks like dr strange come to life from the comics. I agree that they should never change the characters race or sex.
For some characters like nick fury it's not really a big deal because his race wasn't an important part of who he was. Ben Grimm is a Jewish boy growing up in a tough neighbor hood so making him a Chinese boy would make no sense.
Changing the ancient one isn't really a great idea either. So I
Wopo. I am with you 100%. I am very excited for this. Cumberbatch is amazing and he looks like dr strange come to life from the comics. I agree that they should never change the characters race or sex.
For some characters like nick fury it's not really a big deal because his race wasn't an important part of who he was. Ben Grimm is a Jewish boy growing up in a tough neighbor hood so making him a Chinese boy would make no sense.
Changing the ancient one isn't really a great idea either. So I am with you on that.
Your forget that if people don't know the character they don't care.
If joker was a turned into a Mexican female in batman then everyone would piss their pants and you would hear death threats being uttered. But in their minds it's ok to make the ancient one a female because they don't care about the ancient one. Anyway I have stopped arguing with these types of people as you can't get through to them.
Whatever I am still really looking forward to this.
12:12PM on 01/02/2016
So is it fair to say the character is irrelevant? There is some stuff known about Jokers past, like the Thing. He was a white loser trying to provide for his woman. Maybe that story isn't canon, but there's other examples of similar origins. So his background as a middle class white guy who loses it wouldn't really equate well with the plight of a Mexican woman.
So is it fair to say the character is irrelevant? There is some stuff known about Jokers past, like the Thing. He was a white loser trying to provide for his woman. Maybe that story isn't canon, but there's other examples of similar origins. So his background as a middle class white guy who loses it wouldn't really equate well with the plight of a Mexican woman.
11:39PM on 12/31/2015
I'm expecting Winter Soldier/Guardians of the Galaxy quality from this one. Especially with this fantastic, versatile cast.
I'm expecting Winter Soldier/Guardians of the Galaxy quality from this one. Especially with this fantastic, versatile cast.
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4:50AM on 01/01/2016
Why is the changing of this gender not an issue for you? Considering the vile crap you spewed when it was announced a black actor was playing Johnny Storm? Are you just racist but no sexist?
Why is the changing of this gender not an issue for you? Considering the vile crap you spewed when it was announced a black actor was playing Johnny Storm? Are you just racist but no sexist?
1:36PM on 01/01/2016
Because, Jediheart, the black Johnny Storm non-sens was ONE OF MANY problems on the NOT-FF 'movie' from the beginning.
And it was changing a MAIN character, not a supporting one...
Beside, as far as I remember, in an earlier post, he DID said it could be an issue... Not sure though.
Because, Jediheart, the black Johnny Storm non-sens was ONE OF MANY problems on the NOT-FF 'movie' from the beginning.
And it was changing a MAIN character, not a supporting one...
Beside, as far as I remember, in an earlier post, he DID said it could be an issue... Not sure though.
11:59AM on 01/02/2016
Is cathelotte saying this in sarcasm? Surely his defense isn't that "it's ok to change a minor character but not ok to change a major."

I would imagine soloist thoughts are much more simple than racism or sexism. I would guess his lack of problem with tilda comes from one of two areas, or a mixture of both. Tilda is being cast as a non-white role already, a role which soloist could never get. Soloist, in his mind, was very much a contender for Johnny Storm, and I imagine it's the role
Is cathelotte saying this in sarcasm? Surely his defense isn't that "it's ok to change a minor character but not ok to change a major."

I would imagine soloist thoughts are much more simple than racism or sexism. I would guess his lack of problem with tilda comes from one of two areas, or a mixture of both. Tilda is being cast as a non-white role already, a role which soloist could never get. Soloist, in his mind, was very much a contender for Johnny Storm, and I imagine it's the role soloist thinks he's most suited for (in that film). But a black actor stole his God given right to play the white role his mother makes him believe he's similar too.

The second reason - ppl are excited for this film and no one is questioning anything about it - I'd at least question the director. And if there's one thing we know about soloist, it's that he isn't going to criticize something that hasn't received any criticism. He isn't exactly the emblem of a fair and balanced view.
9:41PM on 01/03/2016
Not surprised the massive amount of misuse for the word "racism" being thrown around here since about 90% of our society throws it around incorrectly. Not agreeing with changing the race of a character doesn't make one racist. Google the word for fuck's sake. Personally, I think if a character has their race/gender/story changed and it is done in a different way that serves the story/plot, then I am all for it. Changing it just to change it or to be PC is fucking ludicrous. If changing
Not surprised the massive amount of misuse for the word "racism" being thrown around here since about 90% of our society throws it around incorrectly. Not agreeing with changing the race of a character doesn't make one racist. Google the word for fuck's sake. Personally, I think if a character has their race/gender/story changed and it is done in a different way that serves the story/plot, then I am all for it. Changing it just to change it or to be PC is fucking ludicrous. If changing someone else's creation isn't such a big deal, then it staying the same be either.
8:33AM on 01/04/2016
No, bealzf, I wasn't saying this in sarcasm, but I probably didn't said it clearly, English not being my main spoken language.
I meant that usually, changing a minor character has less impact (on fans for instance) than a major one. Neither are 'ok' by my book if not justified or well handled (and I think the Johnny Storm BS was none of the above).
Ho, and if it's such a problem to change the gender or ethnicity of a character... Where are your complain about Mordo becoming a black character ?
No, bealzf, I wasn't saying this in sarcasm, but I probably didn't said it clearly, English not being my main spoken language.
I meant that usually, changing a minor character has less impact (on fans for instance) than a major one. Neither are 'ok' by my book if not justified or well handled (and I think the Johnny Storm BS was none of the above).
Ho, and if it's such a problem to change the gender or ethnicity of a character... Where are your complain about Mordo becoming a black character ?
11:26PM on 12/31/2015

Interesting

I'm so pumped for this movie.
I'm so pumped for this movie.
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