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ETonline EXCLUSIVE: Tilda Swinton & 'Doctor Strange' Cast Address Whitewashing Criticisms and Comic Book Stereotypes

November 4, 2016

Marvel's Doctor Strange is one of the latest films to be caught in the debate about whitewashing in Hollywood and the call for more diversity on screen. When ET sat down with the cast, Tilda Swinton was armed with a diplomatic response to the so-called controversy around her casting as the Ancient One in the superhero film. The character is an Asian man in the comics, but a Celtic woman in the film.


"The first thing to say, anybody who is shouting nice and loud for a more accurate representation of the diversity of our world on our screens and in our world, right on," Swinton told ET. "Let's all shout loud for that. At the same time, [with] Doctor Strange, you kind of need to see the movie to understand the decisions that were made."


When adapting the story for the big screen, writer and director (and life-long Doctor Strange fan) Scott Derrickson had some challenges ahead -- namely combating the stereotypes in the comics.


"The Ancient One was a lot more difficult because I wanted to get away from the Fu Manchu magical Asian stereotype that was in comics, but he has to still be a mystical magical martial arts mentor to Strange," Derrickson told ET. "Making it a woman was the first choice. Not just a woman, but a woman Tilda's age, who is not just a young 26-year-old leather-clad fanboy dream girl. But then also I needed an actress that could embody what is great about the Ancient One character -- an enigmatic, mystical, domineering, sometimes duplicitous character. I would have cast an Asian woman in that role, but I didn't want it to fall into the 'Dragon Lady' stereotype."


For Derrickson, casting Swinton in the role was the key to bringing the Ancient One to life.


To learn why Swinton was the right person for the role, head to



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