“Doctor Strange Writer Says Ancient One Was Changed To Avoid Upsetting China”

“Much has been made lately of Hollywood’s tendency to whitewash characters in movie adaptations, including the casting of Scarlett Johansson as “The Major” in the live-action anime adaptation Ghost In The Shell and the casting of Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One in Marvel’s big-screen adaptation of Doctor Strange. Some excuse the practice as just part of the cost of doing business in Hollywood, where investors want to be assured of a maximum return on their investment by seeing the biggest-name actors cast in the movies they’re bankrolling, while others see it as an outmoded practice that needs to be stopped.

Either way, the casting choice has already been made and production has already wrapped on Doctor Strange, so Marvel will be continuing forward with Swinton as the Ancient One despite the public pushback. According to the movie’s co-writer C. Robert Cargill, however, they did not take the decision lightly when writing the part or casting for it.

Cargill spoke to Double Toasted in a video interview posted to YouTube. During the interview, the subject of the Ancient One’s casting was brought up, and Cargill likened the decision to the Kobayashi Maru, an unwinnable scenario for Starfleet cadets in the Star Trek universe first presented in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan…”

Tibet is indeed a very hot-button issue in China, and the Chinese government has been quick to ban artists or art that display any sympathy for the Free Tibet movement. This could have been a serious blow for Marvel given the size of the market (in the case of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, for example, China accounted for over $115 million in ticket sales – a quarter of the total international box office)…”




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