Doctor Strange: Tilda Swinton Reveals Her Approach To The Ancient One

Marvel courted controversy last year when they announced Tilda Swinton would play the Ancient One in the upcoming Doctor Strange movie. The comic book version of the Ancient One is an elderly Tibetan man, but Swinton is a middle-aged white woman. Marvel quickly had to clarify that Swinton's character was a "different" Ancient One than the character in the comics, whose background would be explained in the movie.

During a visit to the Doctor Strange set, Swinton spoke to about her approach to playing the Ancient One. "I would say the whole approach is about a kind of fluidity," Swinton said. "There are many graphic artists who have interpreted The Ancient One as a Tibetan Buddhist Lama. We're kind of shifting that a bit, we're trying not to be fixed, we're trying not to be fixed to any one thing, any one gender, any one disciplines, spiritual discipline, and any one race even."

Although her version of the Ancient One is radically different than the one seen in the comics, Swinton saw the differences as an extension of the creativity shown by various comics creators. "One of the wonderful things that I've always loved as an art student, what I always loved about comics is that they are interpreted differently by different graphic artists all the time, and so now [Doctor Strange] is doing that, thanks to Marvel Studios."

Swinton also stated that Marvel's approach to making their films without remaining 100% true to the comics was a compliment to the Marvel comics themselves. "I'm a huge Marvel fan, and the fact that to take the liberties that they do in film making, I think if anything it dignifies the comics, it says, 'Yeah, this is a strong enough, robust enough source we can bend it. It's elastic, it's bouncy.'"


Doctor Strange comes out in theaters on November 4th.

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