Back in May, word broke that Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton was in talks with Marvel Studios for the role of The Ancient One in Doctor Strange. Now, the news has been confirmed by Swinton herself. While on the press junket for her upcoming film Trainwreck, Swinton told ScreenCrush that she was not only in talks for the role, but that she’s now officially signed on:
“We’re so far in talks that we’re not talking anymore [laughs]. It’s done. The conversation has been had.”
Swinton’s casting – while exciting and another win for Marvel – is a bit controversial, as it not only gender swaps, but race swaps the character from the source material. In the comics, the Ancient One is a 500 year-old Tibetan wise man who becomes Sorcerer Supreme and eventually passes that mantle and responsibility down to Stephen Strange.
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Kevin Feige recently explained the decision to play around with the race and gender of the character, saying that he “looked at the Ancient One as a mantle more than a specific person… there have been multiple Ancient Ones… this is a mantle, and therefore we felt we had leeway to cast in interesting ways.”
Swinton seems eager and excited to take on the role, not just because it’ll be her biggest film to date, but because the source material and the approach to the adaptation are so interesting and creative:
“Well, there’s no particular interest in getting into something bigger, or even smaller, I just really liked the premise of this and the idea of playing this character. I’m a Marvel fan and I think this particular world that Doctor Strange goes into is really, really, really exciting. I’m really interested as both an actor and a fan to see what’s done in this particular world. It’s all about creativity. It’s not about exploding at the end. It’s about something very different. The idea of playing the Ancient One is really just too tickling. I can’t say no to that!”
Directed by Scott Derrickson, Doctor Strange stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular Sorcerer Supreme, and hits theaters on November 4th, 2016.