Tilda Swinton attended the world premiere at the TCL Chinese Theatre on Thursday night and told critics:
"They need to see the film to understand why Scott Derrickson and Kevin Feige decided to reimagine the Ancient One as a woman. People shouting loud and proud about needing more diversity in Hollywood cinema have got us right behind them."
We need to talk about an Ancient
"I’m pretty confidently dropping hints in Kevin Feige’s ear about a prequel, I’m constantly harassing him about that. I don’t know if it’ll get anywhere. ... Just leaving the odd hint. Writing the odd note and putting it in his pocket. Writing lipstick messages in his mirror. Just seeing how far we get."
Writer Jon Spaihts on the casting choice:
"Tilda is an instance of us taking a male role and putting a woman in it, which I think the film badly needed. The comic world of ‘Doctor Strange’ is very male. So we were looking for opportunities to have not only ethnic diversity, but to have gender diversity in the film."
Director Scott Derrickson on the "diversity choice":
"I think diversity is the responsibility of directors and producers. In this case, the stereotype of [the Ancient One] had to be undone. I wanted it to be a woman, a middle-aged woman. Every iteration of that script played by an Asian woman felt like a ‘Dragon Lady,’ I’m very sensitive to the history of ‘Dragon Lady’ representation and Anna May Wong films. I moved away from that. Who’s the magical, mystical, woman with secrets that could work in this role? I thought Tilda Swinton."
Benedict Wong on his stereotype-dispelling character Master Wong:
"The idea of a man servant and tea-making sidekick isn’t that appealing. Scott and Kevin said vehemently ‘were not doing this.’ And I said, ‘Fantastic because neither am I.’"
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