Tilda Swinton Reflects on "Hot, Sticky, Gnarly" Doctor Strange Casting Controversy

Ahead of The French Dispatch coming out, Tilda Swinton addressed the Doctor Strange casting controversy she was involved with.

By Elana Rubin Jun 30, 2021 7:57 PMTags
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Tilda Swinton has no regrets about her casting in Doctor Strange in 2016, despite the public's reaction to her being chosen for the role.

Many were upset that Swinton was chosen to portray The Ancient One when the comic book character was Tibetan, per NBC News.

She told Variety that it was a "hot, sticky, gnarly moment" in entertainment.

"I remember at the time having a question mark in my own mind, and being attendant to the public response to the idea that a Scottish woman will be playing this character, and being aware that there was no resistance at all—there was widespread welcome—which shifted at a certain point, for very good reasons with which I had an enormous amount of sympathy," she explained.

Marvel Studios responded to the controversy, per Variety: "The Ancient One is a title that is not exclusively held by any one character, but rather a moniker passed down through time, and in this particular film the embodiment is Celtic. We are very proud to have the enormously talented Tilda Swinton portray this unique and complex character along- side [sic] our richly diverse cast."

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Amidst the controversy, Swinton reached out to comedienne Margaret Cho to gain clarity.

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"I made a questionable decision to reach out to somebody in a certain way, which was naive and clearly confusing, because their misunderstanding came about because of it," she addressed. "I was embarrassed that I had maybe gone up a blind alley in starting the correspondence in the first place—maybe I had confused matters—but beyond that, I have zero regrets."

When asked about change in Hollywood, Swinton replied, "Ask me that in 100 years."