With all of the fervor surrounding Doctor Strange in the last few months, it’s not surprising that there was going to be a backlash eventually. Between all of the trailer announcements, casting excitement, and guesses about the adaptation’s plot, there was bound to be a part of the build up that crumbled into accusations of problematic colorblind casting decisions. Normally, an impending Tilda Swinton movie would be cause for excitement and curiosity as to how she would make a new character her own. In this case though, some fans of the Doctor Strange story are skeptical about Tilda’s casting as The Ancient One, AKA the person that trains Benedict Cumberbatch’s “Strange” in his abilities.
In the comics, The Ancient One is a man of Tibetan descent. Maybe if this phenomenon wasn’t so common in Hollywood, people would be more likely to overlook this instance of a swapping a minority for a caucasian actor or actress. But this isn’t even the most recent example of such a thing happening in a major studio film adaptation. Now, Tilda has released a comment about the situation via The Hollywood Reporter.
Well, it’s not actually an Asian character — that’s what I need to tell you about it, I wasn’t asked to play an Asian character, you can be very well assured of that.”
She added with a smile, “You just have to wait and see, because it’s not an Asian character.”
Based on these comments, however vague they may be, it looks like there is a chance that Tilda is not actually playing the same Ancient One that people expect her to be playing. Could she be a protegé that is passing along her knowledge to another protegé? Or an imposter of the man from the comics? It’s likely we won’t get a solid answer before the movie comes out in a few months, but the goddess Tilda does not seem like a person who would lie in the face of cultural appropriation accusations. Just another possible twist that Doctor Strange has cued up for us to figure out on opening day.
(via The Hollywood Reporter)