‘Doctor Strange’ Star Tilda Swinton Addresses ‘White-Washing’ Controversy
Doctor Strange is just one of a few projects that’s inspired a bit of controversy in recent weeks. Along with the first photo of Scarlett Johansson in the live-action adaptation of Ghost in the Shell (and subsequent rumors of some questionable VFX tests) and the predominantly white cast of Marvel’s Iron Fist series, Doctor Strange has similarly drawn ire for its casting of Tilda Swinton in the role of the Ancient One, a character that was originally Asian in the comic books. While those other controversies have yet to really be addressed, Queen Tilda herself is speaking on behalf of Doctor Strange. And when Queen Tilda speaks, we must listen — even if she doesn’t really have any answers to give.
In an interview with Den of Geek, Swinton says that her character was never written as an Asian man, and promises something along the lines of “all will be revealed in due time” — which suggests that maybe, just maybe, Doctor Strange has a clever idea to address some of these white-washed cultural elements, perhaps similar to the Mandarin in Iron Man 3:
The script that I was presented with did not feature an Asian man for me to play, so that was never a question when I was being asked to do it. It all will be revealed when you see the film, I think. There are very great reasons for us to feel very settled and confident with the decisions that were made.
You have to imagine that someone with a brilliant, beautiful mind such as Tilda Swinton wouldn’t sign on to appear in a film that would offend minorities. But stranger things have happened — like, you know, the equally brilliant Scarlett Johansson joining a Ghost in the Shell movie.
But Swinton has a bit of a point in that we should reserve final judgment for the finished product.
Doctor Strange hits theaters on November 4.