Now this is how to get people excited about a new Marvel movie. More action? New villains? Nope, Tilda Freaking Swinton. Per THR, the unbelievably talented actress/chameleon is in talks to join the cast of Marvel Studios’ superhero film Doctor Strange opposite Benedict Cumberbatch. The lynchpin here is that Swinton isn’t being eyed to play Cumberbatch’s female co-star or love interest. No, she’s in line to fill the role of the Ancient One, the Tibetan mystic who serves as Doctor Strange’s mentor and trains him to become the next Sorcerer Supreme.
For those unfamiliar with the comics, Strange is a Tony Stark-esque cocky surgeon who loses the use of his hands in an accident, and while on a subsequent quest to heal himself, stumbles across magic. Cumberbatch is set to play the title character for director Scott Derrickson (Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose), and if she signs on Swinton will be the second castmember onboard.
In the comics, the Ancient One is traditionally a male. Marvel had been going that route in casting, eyeing actors such as Morgan Freeman and Ken Watanabe for the part, but they eventually regrouped and decided to cast a female; if only they’d have thought of Swinton for the role of Doctor Strange itself.
Swinton is quite simply one of the best performers working today, turning in incredible performance after incredible performance in films as varied as We Need to Talk About Kevin, Snowpiercer, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. She won her first Oscar for her supporting turn in 2007’s Michael Clayton and previously dabbled in the comics world in 2005’s Constantine. The actress refuses to be pigeonholed, and in another prime example of her versatility she plays a shallow magazine editor in Judd Apatow’s upcoming comedy Trainwreck opposite Amy Schumer.
There’s no guarantee her deal with Marvel will make, but it’s an incredibly exciting possibility. The studio has been more bullish as of late, courting high-caliber actors for its new projects. Joaquin Phoenix was previously in prolonged negotiations for Doctor Strange before backing out, and we recently learned that Chiwetel Ejiofor was in early talks for a role, but this most recent report makes no mention of his involvement.
Production on Doctor Strange begins later this year in anticipation of a November 4, 2016 release date.
For a refresher on all of Marvel’s confirmed releases, see below. And for a catalog of all upcoming superhero movie release dates, click here.
- Ant-Man – July 17, 2015
- Captain America: Civil War – May 6, 2016
- Doctor Strange – November 6, 2016
- Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017
- Spider-Man Reboot – July 28, 2017
- Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017
- Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 – May 4, 2018
- Black Panther – July 6, 2018
- Captain Marvel – November 2, 2018
- Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2 – May 3, 2019
- Inhumans – July 12, 2019