Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson has addressed his casting of Tilda Swinton in the role of the Ancient One and the accusations that he has “white-washed” a character traditionally depicted in the Marvel comics as an Asian man, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “Looking at Marvel movies, I think that we’re missing a major character that is Tilda’s age and has this kind of strength and power,” said Derrickson in Hong Kong earlier Thursday at the start of the international Doctor Strange press tour. “The Ancient One in the comics is a very old American stereotype of what Eastern characters and people are like, and I felt very strongly that we need to avoid those stereotypes at all costs.”
Derrickson’s comments echo the statement he makes in this week’s Entertainment Weekly cover story about Doctor Strange, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular surgeon-turned-sorcerer. In the article, the director says that the casting of Swinton came as the result of his concern over depicting the Ancient One as a stereotypical Asian character. “I was a little surpised by it,” says Derrickson, referring to the controversy that erupted following the release of the film’s first trailer in April. “Certainly our intentions were to subvert racial stereotypes and to create the best possible diversity within the cast. To avoid the stereotypical ‘magical Asian,’ we cast Tilda.”
Doctor Strange will be released in theaters on Nov. 4. EW is offering an advance screening of the film on Friday, Oct. 28 at EW PopFest. Tickets are available as a bonus to the first 300 two-day VIP tickets sold, so get clicking for your chance to be one of the first people to see the film before it hits theaters. EW PopFest runs from Oct. 29-30 at The Reef in Downtown Los Angeles. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to http://ewpopfest.com/.
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