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‘Doctor Strange’: Tilda Swinton’s Gender-Bending Role; Chiwetel Ejiofor On Baron Mordo
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Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor Talk Doctor Strange

Captain America: Civil War may be the opening chapter of Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but a lot of our attention is turned to Doctor Strange. The movie stars Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role, which touts quite a supporting cast that consists of Tilda Swinton (Snowpiercer, Trainwreck), Rachel McAdams (Spotlight, About Time), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave, The Martian), and Michael Stuhlbarg (A Serious Man, Steve Jobs).

So far we’ve seen images, learned about the motivation behind Mads Mikkelsen‘s villain, and Doctor Strange’s powers. Now Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige is talking a little bit more about the Sorcerer Supreme’s allies and possible foes. More on the story below.

Back in May we learned that Tilda Swinton would be playing the Ancient One, an all powerful mystical who acts as a mentor to Steven Strange and Karl Mordo in the comics. However, in the comics, the Ancient One is portrayed as an Asian Man. So in a race-bending and gender-bending twist, Marvel has the character being portrayed by a white woman. Here’s what Feige had to say about the change:

“We’re never afraid to change. 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. 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. We hit very early 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. [Clicks fingers.] Tilda Swinton! Whoah! And it just hit.”

The decision to cast Swinton as a character who normally is portrayed as an Asian man isn’t sitting well with Asians. But that is for a very different report.

Instead let’s focus on how Marvel is choosing to focus on gender-bending the character, which everyone can agree is a great move. But there has been some debate on whether or not the Ancient One is a man or a woman. Feige has also addressed that with the following:

“Look, she’s a chameleon in everything she does.”

There is a lot of truth to that. Swinton won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in the 2007 drama Michael Clayton. She was unrecognizable in Trainwreck and Snowpiercer. And has appeared in a wide range of additional films including Orlando, Adaptation, Constantine, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Moonrise Kingdom, and Only Lovers Left Alive. She also will star in the upcoming Coen Brothers’ film Hail, Casear!

It was recently revealed that the main baddie in Doctor Strange will be played by Mikkelsen, whose name is being kept a secret for the time being. However, based on what we know, he won’t be playing Baron Mordo. That role belongs to Ejiofor. In an interview with EW, The Martian actor spoke briefly about his relationship to the Ancient One:

“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. 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.”

Check out the full interviews in the links below.

Doctor Strange is being directed by Scott Derrickson, and is currently scheduled for released on November 4, 2016.

[Source: EW (Tilda Swinton) | EW (Chiwetel Ejiofor)]

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