Tilda Swinton has responded to the controversy which erupted over her casting as the magic powers-possessing The Ancient One in Marvel’s new superhero movie Doctor Strange. In the Marvel comics, the character, who is responsible for mentoring the titular ex-surgeon in the mystic arts, is traditionally depicted as Asian. Swinton’s playing of the Ancient One became a major news story following the release of the movie’s first trailer last April, with Marvel accused of “whitewashing” the character.
“Anybody calling for more accurate representation of the diverse world we live in has got me standing right beside them,” says Swinton. “I think when people see this film, they’re going to see that it comes from a very diverse place, in all sorts of ways. Maybe this misunderstanding around this film has been an opportunity for that voice to be heard, and I’m not against that at all. But I do think that when people see the film, they’ll see that it’s not necessarily a target for that voice.”
Swinton previously addressed the controversy earlier this year, saying that she “wasn’t asked to play an Asian character, you can be very well assured of that.” Marvel issued a statement at that time, saying that the Ancient One “is a title that is not exclusively held by any one character, but rather a moniker passed down through time, and in this particular film the embodiment is Celtic.”
Director Scott Derrickson also responded to the uproar on Twitter, writing, “Raw anger/hurt from Asian-Americans over Hollywood whitewashing, stereotyping & erasure of Asians in cinema. I am listening and learning.”
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