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Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One in Doctor Strange

Tilda Swinton Talks on her role as The Ancient One in Doctor Strange

Tilda Swinton has always been one of those mysterious actresses that I’ve never known a whole lot about. After watching Tilda as The Ancient One in Doctor Strange, I fell in love with her as an actress. For me, Tilda Swinton stole the show. I wasn’t a big follower of hers before, but I think I will forever be curious about what Tilda is doing from now on because she was simply mesmerizing in the movie. I was tickled to interview Tilda after my Doctor Strange movie screening, and she was delightful through the entire thing. One of my favorite interviews, I think because I just can’t take my eyes off of her. She’s so articulate and beautiful.

Tilda Swinton Talks on her role as The Ancient One in Doctor Strange

Tilda Swinton on her role as The Ancient One:

Marvel's DOCTOR STRANGE..L to R: The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)..Photo Credit: Jay Maidment..©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

Marvel’s DOCTOR STRANGE..L to R: The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)..Photo Credit: Jay Maidment..©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

Struggles with the role

“The only real struggle was casting spells. Learning all these amazing things with fingers, and then remembering what to say at the same time.”

“The fighting was fantastic fun, and difficult and interesting in fun ways. I set myself with the task that the Ancient One would be completely serene through all the fighting. It was challenging to not make faces and sound like a nine-year-old boy through the fighting.”

Tilda Swinton Talks on her role as The Ancient One in Doctor Strange

Thoughts on The Ancient One traditionally played as an Asian Man

“Well you know, the was an Asian man, in fact, a very ancient Tibetan man living on the top of a mountain. The film script that I was given wasn’t an Asian man, so I wasn’t asked to play an Asian man – I was asked to play an ancient Celtic person. If I’d been asked to play an Asian man I would’ve shown them Benedict Wong. Kevin and Scott were very, very clear about the reasons they wanted to shake up the role.”
Marvel's DOCTOR STRANGE..The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton)..Photo Credit: Film Frame ..©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

Marvel’s DOCTOR STRANGE..The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton)..Photo Credit: Film Frame ..©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

“They wanted to shake up the stereotype. They felt that there were a couple of gnarly, racial stereotypes around the two big Asian characters in the film, one was Benedict Wong’s character; he was a sort of servant. And the other was the Ancient One, who was a kind of old, wise Fu Manchu character. Scott wanted to make it a woman, which I think was a really, really cool move – to put woman in the Marvel universe who’s not twenty-one and in a bikini was. Then the thought of an Asian woman, he was worried that it would turn into a kind of dragon lady thing.”

 
Marvel's DOCTOR STRANGE..L to R: The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)..Photo Credit: Film Frame ..©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

Marvel’s DOCTOR STRANGE..L to R: The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)..Photo Credit: Film Frame ..©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

On being bald

“Well it was my decision – it was my suggestion and we felt like less was more and I loved it. I thought it looked really, really ancient, but also kind of modern and rad and it was a nice feeling, as well.”
Marvel's DOCTOR STRANGE..L to R: The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)..Photo Credit: Jay Maidment..©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

Marvel’s DOCTOR STRANGE..L to R: The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)..Photo Credit: Jay Maidment..©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

Profound messages The Ancient One delivers

You’ll have to wait until the movie comes out on Friday for the main message we talked about in our interview, but here’s a tidbit from Tilda.

“There’s a moment when I’m teaching Doctor Strange and looking straight into the camera – basically teaching the globe’s population of fifteen-year-olds about mindfulness. That was like, WOW! This is such a great chance to say, ‘Yes I’m a rad superhero myself, but I’m telling you, be authentic, you know, you can control your mind; you have a choice of your reaction to obstacles in your life, and serve something greater than yourself!”
 
Marvel's DOCTOR STRANGE L to R: The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) Photo Credit: Film Frame ©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

Marvel’s DOCTOR STRANGE
L to R: The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)
Photo Credit: Film Frame
©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

What Tilda learned about herself

“We would jump over to a B stage and do some physical stunts, and then we’d come back and do some quite Zen scene. It’s really important to do the two – the physical kind of energetic life, alongside some kind of introspection… is a really healthy thing.”

Tilda Swinton Talks on her role as The Ancient One in Doctor Strange

There’s Tilda, and she’s simply wonderful! Be sure to catch Doctor Strange in theaters everywhere November 4th!


I was invited to an all-expense paid trip for the purpose of screening Doctor Strange, and interviewing the cast. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Emily Buys

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