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Tilda Swinton explains her casting in Doctor Strange

04.22.2016

tilda swinton, the ancient one, doctor strange

There's certainly been some intriguing casting from Marvel Studios and director Scott Derrickson as they put together the pieces to make the Marvel Cinematic Universe a bit more mystical for DOCTOR STRANGE, and each bit has had some degree of bellyaching to go along with it. Couldn't they get anyone less Cumberbatch-y than Benedict Cumberbatch? Since when is Baron Mordo a black guy? Is Tilda Swinton suddenly an Asian man to make this Ancient One match the one from the comics? And while fanboys are quick to write off anything different from what they've always known, there may be reasons within the context of the movie that lay out exactly why those creative choices were made for these particular roles. Granted, it could have simply been because those chosen were the right fit for the DOCTOR STRANGE they wanted to tell... but, at least in the case of Swinton, she has a bit of explanation she's willing to offer up toward the criticism of "whitewashing" that's been lobbed at The Ancient One becoming a white woman for the film. 

In an interview with Edward Douglas at Den of Geek, Swinton reasoned that DOCTOR STRANGE actually addresses why she does appear the way she does... and you're ultimately going to have to wait for the film to be released to get those details. 

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.

Hmmm... people jumping to conclusions and projecting their own shit on the creative decisions made by those making the movie without ever having seen it in its entirety?? Never heard of that happening before. It must be some sort of new phenomenon we should keep our eyes out for, in case it ever happens again. 

Look... casting an elderly Asian man for a fairly stereotypical elderly Asian man character could have proven problematic. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has too much at stake to go out of its way to offend any ethnic group in order to follow the source material faithfully. And, as we've seen in the past, Marvel's films have been willing to take liberties with various storylines in order to make them work on the big screen. In most cases, it has worked out in their favor, so perhaps before everyone starts jumping on the bandwagon to criticize Marvel for such a casting decision, we wait until we see the final product to see how it comes together. Just once...? Maybe...?

DOCTOR STRANGE arrives in theaters on November 4.

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Source: Den of Geek

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12:38PM on 04/25/2016
I understand everyone's frustration with the casting decision made here. I'm not a fan/reader of Dr. Strange, so really not familiar with the source material. This movie isn't even on my radar of films to see this year. But anyone on here that's complaining is full of shit. Regardless of what your hang-ups are on the casting decision, you and I both know you'll be purchasing a ticket and going to see this movie when it comes out. And that makes you full of shit because if this casting
I understand everyone's frustration with the casting decision made here. I'm not a fan/reader of Dr. Strange, so really not familiar with the source material. This movie isn't even on my radar of films to see this year. But anyone on here that's complaining is full of shit. Regardless of what your hang-ups are on the casting decision, you and I both know you'll be purchasing a ticket and going to see this movie when it comes out. And that makes you full of shit because if this casting decision has your panties in such a wad about diversity in Hollywood, then why are you rewarding the studio by contributing to it's profits?
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4:36PM on 04/24/2016
This movie has 100% shit casting.
This movie has 100% shit casting.
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2:44PM on 04/25/2016
aaaand no one respected your opinion ever again.
aaaand no one respected your opinion ever again.
9:06PM on 04/25/2016
So sad this site doesn't allow thumbs up for replies. Well said, ConMan.
So sad this site doesn't allow thumbs up for replies. Well said, ConMan.
12:30PM on 04/24/2016
I like Tilda, but this casting is kind of bizarre.
I like Tilda, but this casting is kind of bizarre.
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8:38AM on 04/25/2016
If by "bizarre" you mean "unexpected", most definitely, and that's what makes it terrific. I'm very glad they're not sticking to old lousy racist stereotypes and are being creative. Makes it exciting and worth watching.
If by "bizarre" you mean "unexpected", most definitely, and that's what makes it terrific. I'm very glad they're not sticking to old lousy racist stereotypes and are being creative. Makes it exciting and worth watching.
7:26PM on 04/23/2016
"Look... casting an elderly Asian man for a fairly stereotypical elderly Asian man character could have proven problematic. "

So casting a non-asian to play an asian instead of an actual asian makes better sense? Since when has casting an Asian in ANY ROLE become a Stereotype??? So if a guy goes to Hong Kong and wants to learn Kung Fu, its gonna be a stereotype to cast an asian for the role even though hes in freaking HONG KONG?!?! I am willing to give it a chance, but right now she came
"Look... casting an elderly Asian man for a fairly stereotypical elderly Asian man character could have proven problematic. "

So casting a non-asian to play an asian instead of an actual asian makes better sense? Since when has casting an Asian in ANY ROLE become a Stereotype??? So if a guy goes to Hong Kong and wants to learn Kung Fu, its gonna be a stereotype to cast an asian for the role even though hes in freaking HONG KONG?!?! I am willing to give it a chance, but right now she came off way to 1950s to me. They should have not showed her in the trailer just yet.
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11:43PM on 04/22/2016
I am a purist. I state it again and again with any change. I ripped FF4 over Jordan's casting due to it. And I will equally call out Marvel, despite being a big fan, for their gender/race bending in this movie. I even called them out for it in Jessica Jones when they gender swapped Hogarth. Dr Strange looks amazing and I'll be there opening night, but I find it deplorable that one of the most underrepresented minorities in big films, namely asian, and Marvel goes out of their way to strip a
I am a purist. I state it again and again with any change. I ripped FF4 over Jordan's casting due to it. And I will equally call out Marvel, despite being a big fan, for their gender/race bending in this movie. I even called them out for it in Jessica Jones when they gender swapped Hogarth. Dr Strange looks amazing and I'll be there opening night, but I find it deplorable that one of the most underrepresented minorities in big films, namely asian, and Marvel goes out of their way to strip a role from them. I detest when a white male character is swapped for anything else. I equally detest when Black, Asian, female or any minority character is swapped for white if it ignores the source material. And while I love the actor, I hate the casting of Mordo in this for the same reason. Stick to the fucking source material. You want diversity, then bring up characters of that race or that gender. There are thousands of Marvel characters. Use your rich history and deep roster to elevate or even create new ones of more diverse backgrounds for us to enjoy. Don't mess with the characters that built your company. In this day and age of diversity, use new characters to continue building your company, but leave the foundation alone because its what (or who) you built this whole company on.
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12:32PM on 04/25/2016
Your entire argument collapsed on itself when you wrote: "Dr. Strange looks amazing and I'll be there opening night"

So obviously this casting choice can't be that much of a problem if the movie still looks amazing and you're already committed to seeing this in theatre, thereby contributing to Marvel's profits and rewarding them for such a decision.
Your entire argument collapsed on itself when you wrote: "Dr. Strange looks amazing and I'll be there opening night"

So obviously this casting choice can't be that much of a problem if the movie still looks amazing and you're already committed to seeing this in theatre, thereby contributing to Marvel's profits and rewarding them for such a decision.
-5
9:52PM on 04/22/2016

I Call BS

I don't mind taking liberties with characters.
But sorry Billy I do mind when those liberties always seem to mean not casting Asians for rolls which seems to happen a lot in these movies. So where is my Asian Captain America or Spiderman? LIBERATE THAT!! Okay maybe the Asian Captain America is a bit extreme but more and more this is becoming a trend. I think the most blatant example besides this casting for Doctor Strange being The "Mandarin" going to Ben Kingsley. Whats most irritating is
I don't mind taking liberties with characters.
But sorry Billy I do mind when those liberties always seem to mean not casting Asians for rolls which seems to happen a lot in these movies. So where is my Asian Captain America or Spiderman? LIBERATE THAT!! Okay maybe the Asian Captain America is a bit extreme but more and more this is becoming a trend. I think the most blatant example besides this casting for Doctor Strange being The "Mandarin" going to Ben Kingsley. Whats most irritating is that they do this pretty much from the get go with Doctor Ho Yinsen an Asian who was originally locked away in a cave with Tony Stark going to a Middle Eastern character. So what there are no Asian's in the MIddle East?
Nah man, fool me once shame on you fool me three times and I'd be doing my race a disservice in not calling BS on anything they say. Cast an Asian first and if it doesn't work out then complain.
I swear I might just burn up all my comics if they pull a freaking David Carradine move when they cast Shang-Chi when He features in the Iron Fist series for Netflix.
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7:01AM on 04/23/2016
I couldn't give two craps if The Ancient One is black, white, Muslim, Asian, or female, and only the deepest purists will care when the movie comes out. The director is wise to avoid a stereotyped "old Chinese master" character and to create something fresh and weird and interesting.
I couldn't give two craps if The Ancient One is black, white, Muslim, Asian, or female, and only the deepest purists will care when the movie comes out. The director is wise to avoid a stereotyped "old Chinese master" character and to create something fresh and weird and interesting.
7:48PM on 04/23/2016
"So what there are no Asian's in the MIddle East?"

Ummmm, you do realize that the Middle East is a part of Asia, right?
"So what there are no Asian's in the MIddle East?"

Ummmm, you do realize that the Middle East is a part of Asia, right?
7:12PM on 04/22/2016
"casting an elderly Asian man for a fairly stereotypical elderly Asian man character could have proven problematic" The character is Asian in the comics, correct? I'm not familiar with the source material. However, I DO know Asians are an underrepresented ethnic group, particularly in comic book block busters. Episode 8 seems to be working on that and Episode 7 did as well. The fact is Asians aren't going to be "offended" by having a leading character in a huge Marvel movie be Asian if he is
"casting an elderly Asian man for a fairly stereotypical elderly Asian man character could have proven problematic" The character is Asian in the comics, correct? I'm not familiar with the source material. However, I DO know Asians are an underrepresented ethnic group, particularly in comic book block busters. Episode 8 seems to be working on that and Episode 7 did as well. The fact is Asians aren't going to be "offended" by having a leading character in a huge Marvel movie be Asian if he is Asian in the source material. The writers don't have to write him as a stereotype.

There is something going on in the "need more diversity" shouting that nobody talks about, and it's the simple fact that it's justifiable to change the ethnicity of an Asian character (Dr Strange), white characters, Dark Tower and Elba in Thor), but if black character was EVER changed to a white person there would be SO much outcry from the African American community. Take the Oscars for example - constant complains from black celebs about not being respected and represented enough, followed up my the laziest and most stereotypical jokes about Asians being good at math, short, and having small dicks.

The double standard is obvious and it's getting old. The fact that you say Asians would possibly be offended by a possible stereotyping shows me you're grasping at straws to justify Marvels fuck up.

When they cast Chris Pratt as Shaft I'm looking forward to all of you justifying that change the same way you have the rest. I'm sure that will happen.

Okay I'm done taking a shit, have a good one.
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6:51PM on 04/22/2016
If there are good reasons for different interpretation from the original source, I'm all for the director to adapt that to a modern world setting.
If there are good reasons for different interpretation from the original source, I'm all for the director to adapt that to a modern world setting.
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6:02PM on 04/22/2016
I can't think of anyone who looks more like Doctor Strange than Benedict Cumberbatch does here, and I'd watch Tilda Swinton read the phone book. I'm not interested in whiny people complaining about casting.
I can't think of anyone who looks more like Doctor Strange than Benedict Cumberbatch does here, and I'd watch Tilda Swinton read the phone book. I'm not interested in whiny people complaining about casting.
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+1
5:42PM on 04/22/2016

Personally I'm sick of all the whining....

Fanboys are often childish and prone to crying "racism" or "sexism" when something doesn't go the way they thought it should. I wasn't a fan of the Johnny Storm casting (especially since the result was a stereotypical black kid with an attitude problem instead of Jordan being allowed to do something interesting with the role), but I said my piece, then gave them a chance to prove me wrong (especially since Jordan is an exceptional actor). Bottom line, these are stories. It doesn't matter
Fanboys are often childish and prone to crying "racism" or "sexism" when something doesn't go the way they thought it should. I wasn't a fan of the Johnny Storm casting (especially since the result was a stereotypical black kid with an attitude problem instead of Jordan being allowed to do something interesting with the role), but I said my piece, then gave them a chance to prove me wrong (especially since Jordan is an exceptional actor). Bottom line, these are stories. It doesn't matter what picture you have in your head because YOU WEREN'T TALENTED ENOUGH TO BECOME THE DIRECTOR!

So get over it and wait for the film. If the character is bad (or seems to be white for the sake of excluding an Asian), then it's time to complain. Until then, you just sound like a little bitch if you constantly cry about it.
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