In a new interview with “Doctor Strange” director Scott Derrickson (“Sinister”), the helmer continues to defend his controversial casting of Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One — a character who is traditionally of Asian ethnicity in the comics.
The director previously backed up the decision by saying it was a new, “Celtic” interpretation of the character that he is “very proud” of — and now says the casting even added diversity to the movie, because it’s a role that could’ve easily gone to someone “28 years old in leather pants.”
“Diversity in movies is absolutely the responsibility of producers and directors,” Derrickson said in an interview with Los Angeles Daily News. “In this movie, we have about as diverse a cast as I think you can get, and that was a very conscious decision. Tilda was a way of adding diversity in terms of not just an ethereal, enigmatic, otherworldly actress playing an ethereal, enigmatic, otherworldly character, but we’re bringing a middle-aged woman who’s not 28 years old in leather pants into the Marvel Universe in a major role.”
Derrickson went on to say he was “very conscious” that Swinton’s casting would erase a major Asian role in the film, so eventually decided to rework the character Wong — Strange’s sidekick and manservant in the comics — back into the script, in a more significant way.
“I was very happy with that [Swinton’s casting], but I was also very conscious that in doing that I was erasing a significant potential Asian role. I was going to leave Wong out of the movie at first; he was an Asian sidekick manservant, what was I supposed to do with that?,” Derrickson said. “But once the decision was made to cast Tilda, we brought Wong back because, unlike the Ancient One, he could be completely subverted as a character and reworked into something that didn’t fall into any of the stereotypes of the comics.”
Directed by Derrickson, co-written by Derrickson, Jon Spaihts and C. Robert Cargill, and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, Mads Mikkelsen and others, “Doctor Strange” hits theaters on November 4.
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