As many of you know, Tilda Swinton will be playing the Ancient One in Marvel’s upcoming film, Doctor Strange starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Rachel McAdams.
In the Doctor Strange comics, the Ancient One is an Asian male who acts has a guide to Doctor Strange. So fans were surprised when Swinton had been cast in the role.
I wrote about this casting a while ago and you can read about it here!
But, to sum it up, while surprising, it wasn’t overly shocking that a woman was cast in the role.
In addition to the fact that Swinton has played male characters in the past, changing the gender of characters from male to female has become more and more popular in films lately. For example, Guillermo del Toro wrote the lead role in Crimson Peak for a female because he recognized the need for more strong female characters.
And I think that’s great, of course! I totally & completely support actors being cast in roles based on their abilities and their place in the overall story, rather than solely based on their gender. If the Ancient One had “needed” to be male because the character had been portrayed as male in the past, then Swinton would have been overlooked for this part that she will no doubt be incredible in.
So it’s very exciting to see her continuing this gender swapping trend in Doctor Strange.
In Entertainment Weekly’s interview with Marvel Studios president and producer of Doctor Strange, Kevin Feige, Feige shared some very cool insights on Swinton being chosen for the role and, perhaps most importantly, how he feels the Ancient One’s gender is a non-issue:
“Look, she’s a chameleon in everything she does,” Feige said of Swinton. “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.”
Feige also explained that Marvel has always been open to change and that, in their film, it made perfect sense that the Ancient One be a woman. So, when casting Swinton came to mind, the idea worked seamlessly for them.
EW then asked Swinton whether she is playing a male or female in Doctor Strange. They reported that she laughed and said, “I wouldn’t know how to answer that one. I think it’s all in the eye of the beholder.”
Marvel’s Doctor Strange comes out in theaters on November 4, 2016.