In late May, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that British actress Tilda Swinton (Constantine, Snowpiercer) was in talks to take on a gender-bending role as The Ancient One in Scott Derrickson’s upcoming Doctor Strange. Today, in an interview with Hypable, Swinton confirmed she has indeed joined the film.
The Ancient One, who has traditionally been represented as a wise, old, Asian man, was Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme and the mentor of Doctor Stephen Strange. Swinton, who is clearly neither an old man nor Asian, said the change is “all about creativity. It’s not about everything 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!” Marvel Studios, under the direction of President Kevin Feige, Casting Director Sarah Finn and director Scott Derrickson, seem very comfortable with adding to the diversity of the MCU with this film. In addition to casting Swinton as The Ancient One, they are also rumored to have landed Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave, Firefly) as Baron Mordo, an Eastern European sorcerer in the comics.
The film, which promises to take the Marvel Cinematic Universe into extra-dimensions and explore the rules of quantum physics, begins filming this November in London. Swinton is beyond negotiations, and says she is thrilled to be a part of the film:
“We’re so far in talks that we’re not talking any more [laughs]. It’s done. 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.”
Marvel certainly seems to be going after and landing some big actors for Doctor Strange. In addition to Cumberbatch, Swinton and Ejiofor, they are also rumored to be courting Rachel McAdams for the film’s as yet unidentified female lead. With a cast like that, Marvel is likely to have yet another hit on their hands.
Doctor Strange will hit movie theaters on November 4th, 2016.