Comic book enthusiasts were thrilled this week to see the first trailer for the highly-anticipated film “Doctor Strange.” What they weren’t expecting to see was a bald Tilda Swinton portraying Tibetan character the Ancient One.
In the Marvel comics, Doctor Strange travels to Asia after a horrific accident that leaves his hands mutilated, and he meets a Tibetan mystic: the Ancient One. While Swinton is a fantastic actress and looks striking in the role, it begs the question: were there no Asian actors or actresses who could have done the part justice?
This is not the only “whitewashing” outcry the film industry has faced this week. Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks also released the first image of Scarlett Johansson as the Japanese character Major Motoko Kusanagi in the manga-based film “Ghost In the Shell,” which drew similar criticism from fans.
A few months ago, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige told EW that their reason for selecting Swinton was that they wanted to shy away from any stereotyping roles. He also stated that they liked the idea of having the Ancient One be a woman.
Swinton has spent much of her career as a chameleon, from her portrayal as a male character in “Orlando” to an elderly aristocrat in “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” She’s taken big strides to radically change her appearance for roles, versus more recent controversial choices, such as the notorious “Aloha” casting misstep in which Emma Stone played a woman of Asian and Hawaiian heritage.
But fans are still upset, feeling that race switching has become all too common in Hollywood.
Check some fan tweets below:
Watch Tilda in the “Doctor Strange” teaser trailer below: