Producer Kevin Feige explained Tilda Swinton’s role as Ancient One, saying that the character is ‘very androgynous.’
Following the first official look at Benedict Cumberbatch in “Doctor Strange”, new details about the movie have emerged. Marvel Studios President and producer Kevin Feige shares some new information about other characters in the movie, Tilda Swinton’s the Ancient One and Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Baron Mordo.
The Ancient One is Stephen Strange’s (Cumberbatch) mentor who lives in Tibet and is traditionally depicted as an Asian man. Since in the upcoming movie the character will be played by Swinton, who is a non-Asian actress, the producer explained why the team behind the movie decided to make the character different and cast Swinton.
“We’re never afraid to change,” Feige said, before comparing the Ancient One to Jarvis in “The Avengers”. “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.”
He later explained why he made the character different from the source materials. “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,” Feige told EW. “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. Tilda Swinton! Whoah! And it just hit.”
However, when asked about the gender of Twinton’s character in the movie, the producer didn’t give a clear answer. “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,” Feige pointed out.
The site also got some information about Mordo and his relationship with Strange. In the comic books, Mordo is Ancient One’s student who eventually becomes a fierce sorcerer. “Oh, he’s a very complex character that, really, I don’t think can be nailed down either way, you know. I guess it’s something to experience, is what I’d say,” Ejiofor said of his character.
“In terms of his life with the Ancient One, it’s this long and intense relationship they have that’s just very deep and very connected. I think they both recognize in Strange this certain quality that they feel is going to be very useful in a situation they’re in – just by the nature of who he is, and the way that he operates, and the way his mind works, and the certain skill set and personality that he has,” the actor continued. “So, when they all meet, they realize that he’s somebody that can be plugged into this very surreal, interesting, sort of fascinating circumstance that they’re all in, and the dangers that they face. And so it becomes a process of assimilating him into their ways of life.”
The film also stars Rachel McAdams, Michael Stuhlbarg and Mads Mikkelsen, who is believed to play the film’s main villain. Directed by Scott Derrickson, “Doctor Strange” is scheduled to be released in the U.S. on November 4, 2016.