You don’t hire Tilda Swinton if you’re hoping for a performance that’s even remotely ordinary. Tilda Swinton’s gotta’ Tilda Swinton, even when she’s appearing in something as carefully controlled as a Marvel Studios movie. So you probably won’t bat an eye when you learn that the Oscar-winning actress may end up playing Doctor Strange’s the Ancient One as a man.

This delightfully odd news comes at the very bottom of a Guardian profile on Swinton. It’s the kind of statement that begs for further elaboration:


She will soon start shooting a Marvel blockbuster, Doctor Strange, but there is a Swinton-esque twist – she doesn’t yet know if she will play the part as a man or a woman.


Interestingly, this wouldn’t be the first time Swinton has played a gender bent comic book character. You may remember that she appeared in the original Constantine movie as the angel Gabriel, the androgynous representative of Heaven who popped down to the human realm to touch base with Keanu Reeves’ bitter demon hunter. Swinton is certainly not afraid to make choices. You know the kind of choices we’re talking about. The ones that demand italics.

In the Marvel comics, the Ancient One is Dr. Stephen Strange’s mentor, a powerful and immortal being who instructs him and his future rival, Baron Mordo, in the mystic arts. He’s also a hideous Asian stereotype, so casting a white British woman who may play the character as a man is a great way to completely reinvent the character from the ground up. Plus, Swinton herself is an immortal, ageless being with magic powers, so she’ll be able to bring her personal experience to part, whether she plays it as a man or woman.

Doctor Strange stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular hero, is directed by Scott Derrickson, and will begin filming later this year for a November 4, 2016 release date.


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