×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Doctor Strange’ Cast Addresses Whitewashing Controversy at Film’s World Premiere

The world premiere of “Doctor Strange” was held at the famous TCL Chinese Theater on Thursday night. Fans braved the 90-degree heat to get a glimpse of the Sorcerer Supreme himself, Benedict Cumberbatch.

Hollywood Boulevard was transformed into a grand magic sanctum as the cast and crew took the red carpet to celebrate the opening of 14th Marvel Universe movie.

They also took the opportunity to address criticism from some fans over the casting of British actress Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One, who in the comics is depicted as an Asian man.

Director Scott Derrickson took on the whitewashing controversy, explaining how selecting Swinton was a diversity choice itself.

“I think diversity is the responsibility of directors and producers,” Derrickson told Variety. “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,'” Derrickson explained, referencing another negative on-screen stereotype of an exotic and domineering Asian woman. “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.”

Writer Jon Spaihts also praised 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.”

Swinton herself urged audiences to see “Doctor Strange” before criticizing it, while championing diversity.

“They need to see the film to understand why Scott Derrickson and [Marvel Studios President] 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.”

Benedict Wong, who plays Master Wong, said producers worked to dispel the Asian stereotypes around his character found in the source material. “The idea of a man servant and tea-making sidekick isn’t that appealing,” the British Chinese actor said. “Scott and Kevin said vehemently ‘were not doing this.’ And I said, ‘Fantastic because neither am I.'”

Other Marvel stars including Stan Lee (creator), Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), Elodie Yung (Elektra) and Gabriel Luna (Ghost Rider) made their way down the carpet before the screening.

Cumberbatch and Swinton received the loudest applause as the credits rolled, which was of course followed by Marvel’s signature post-credits scene, featuring a certain Avenger (no spoilers here) and a post-post-credits scene.

An after-party followed celebrating the film and premiere’s success.

Check out more photos from the event below.

“Doctor Strange” World Premiere

More Scene

  • Atmosphere91st Annual Academy Awards, Governors Ball

    Inside the 2019 Oscar Parties

    Stars party all around Hollywood before, during, and after the Oscars. Here, Variety hits the town to give you the inside scoop on all the star-studded soirées. Keep checking back throughout the weekend for the latest updates… Oscar Wilde Awards Bad Robot, Santa Monica, Feb 21 Irish eyes were smiling in Santa Monica for the [...]

  • Speaker of the United States House

    Nancy Pelosi, Ava DuVernay Honored at VH1 Trailblazers Event

    Cher is feeling a little better about what’s happening in Washington, D.C. “When I see Trump spew his hate and tell his gazillion lies, I get pissed off and feel uneasy at the same time,” the Oscar winner and frequent Trump critic said Wednesday while introducing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at VH1 Trailblazers [...]

  • Karl Lagerfeld'Lagerfeld Confidential' Photocall at the

    Karl Lagerfeld Remembered at Costume Designers Guild Awards

    The death of fashion and costume designer Karl Lagerfeld cast somewhat of a shadow over the usually jubilant Costume Designers Guild Awards — the only award show where clothes literally steal the spotlight away from actors — which was held at the Beverly Hilton on Tuesday night. Here it was obvious that Lagerfeld’s impact on [...]

  • Kate Bosworth'Nona' film premiere, New York,

    Kate Bosworth Helps Launch Campaign for Female Filmmakers

    In her 20-year career in Hollywood, Kate Bosworth has starred in blockbusters like “Superman Returns” as well as indie darlings like 2014’s “Still Alice.” But the actress has always had a desire to get more involved from the ground up. Now, she is partnering with Women In Film and Chloe Wine Collection to launch the [...]

  • Amandla Stenberg and Sofia CarsonVanity Fair

    Oscar Week Kicks Off With Vanity Fair's New Hollywood Party

    The night was definitely still young Tuesday at Vanity Fair’s New Hollywood party in Los Angeles. The magazine kicked off Oscar week with a party — the first of its three-event Campaign Hollywood series — at Ysabel in West Hollywood to celebrate new and emerging talent. Co-hosted by Yalitza Aparicio, Henry Golding and Amandla Stenberg [...]

  • Oscars Ultimate Party Guide

    Oscars Ultimate Party Guide 2019

    Welcome to Oscar week. It’s the time of year when Hollywood’s film industry celebrates all things movies. But it’s certainly not just the big show everyone is looking forward to. With voting closed, it’s all about the parties now. Who’s doing what and where and when are they doing it are the questions everyone is [...]

  • Yalitza AparicioTeen Vogue Young Hollywood Party,

    'Roma' Star Yalitza Aparicio, 'Central Park Five's' Jharrel Jerome Sound Off on Trump

    Yalitza Aparicio recently reunited with Alfonso Cuarón, who directed her in “Roma,” for a W magazine photo project that featured her standing at various barriers built at the border between Mexico and the United States. The message? “You can make a name for yourself despite the differences,” Aparicio told Variety on Friday at Teen Vogue’s Young [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content