BySean Gallen, writer at
The pen is mightier than the sword but is ultimately useless in the event of a zombie apocalypse. Filmmaker, filmlover, MP staff writer.
Sean Gallen

Marvel unveiled the mind-bending trailer for the upcoming Doctor Strange film at this year's San Diego Comic Con and, months later, we're still trying to wrap our heads around those amazing, kaleidoscopic sequences. Benedict Cumberbatch will be donning the scarlet cape (they don't make 'em like they used to) as Dr. Stephen Strange, a talented surgeon who suffers a horrible car accident that ends his career abruptly. When Strange is at his most despondent he encounters the Ancient One (Swinton), a mysterious wise-man (yes, man) who shows him the ancient power that dwells within that allows Strange to manipulate reality.

Check out the incredible extended trailer for Doctor Strange below:

Many fans of the comic books were left confused to see Swinton take on the role of the traditionally male Ancient One, but this is an actress who has made a name for herself by sinking her teeth into roles that seem out of her comfort zone. While we wait for Doctor Strange to materialize in our dimension on November 4th, we've decided to take a look at 5 of Swinton's weirdest roles and prove why she's a perfect fit to play the Ancient One.

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1. Mason In Snowpiercer

Boon Joon-ho's Snowpiercer is a harrowing, dystopian story of a train traveling through a post-apocalyptic earth carrying the remnants of humanity. The workers in the back of the train are tired of being ignored and mistreated and start to fight their way to the front where the elite reside. They come up against fierce resistance from Mason (Swinton), the matronly but deadly woman who is charged with squashing the rebellion. She may look like a goofy kindergarten teacher on the outside, with her comically huge teeth and cola-bottle glasses, but underneath Swinton is as malicious and ferocious as ever.

2. Gabriel In Constantine

Swinton as the beautiful but twisted Gabriel
Swinton as the beautiful but twisted Gabriel

Swinton seems to have a strange obsession for playing the villain but she has a persuasive way of seducing you to the dark side. In Constantine, Keanu Reeves plays a supernatural detective who sends demons to Hell in order to get into Heaven. Swinton takes the form of the androgynous messenger of God, Gabriel, who turns on Constantine and God himself to seek revenge. Once again, Tilda demonstrates her innate gift for slipping into roles most actors would shy away from, shape-shifting and changing her gender with subtle changes in costume and body language. Her gender-fluidity could be why she beat male actors for the role of the Ancient One.

3. Eve In Only Lovers Left Alive

Doctor Strange won't be the first time Tilda plays an ancient being. After having tackled the angel messenger Gabriel in Constantine, more recently she slipped on the silky robes of a 300 year old Vampire in Jim Jarmusch's dark and sensual Only Lovers Left Alive. Eve's beauty is a collection of styles, as if she picked up fashion ideas throughout the ages. Her lily-white skin from the Victorian period (and centuries without the sun), her long white tunics from the Byzantine period and her long white mane from the '60s. Much like her real life persona, Swinton seems to always seduce younger lovers. Only Lovers plays with this concept as the story revolves around Eve's reunion with her centuries old amour, Adam, played by Tom Hiddleston.

4. Marianne In A Bigger Splash

Much like the late, great David Bowie, Tilda has reinvented herself so many times that it's hard to say which Tilda is our favorite. In a role that was heavily inspired by Bowie, Swinton plays a glamorous rock star vacationing in Italy after intensive vocal chord surgery. In the original script, her character had pages of dialogue but Swinton chose to be voiceless to add another layer of complexity to the character. Needless to say, Swinton's performance was even more entrancing as she used her body language and facial expressions to convey emotions instead.

5. Dianna In Trainwreck

Audiences have become so accustomed to Tilda Swinton playing lavish and outlandish characters that when she takes on a role that's more grounded in reality, people either don't notice her or find her appearance disturbing. In Trainwreck, Swinton plays Dianna, the glamorous yet tasteless editor of the magazine 'for women,' Snuff. To prepare for the role, she abandoned her usual androgynous look and slipped into wigs, costumes and make-up that were way more feminine and conservative. Sometimes, thinking within the box is stranger than always exploring outside of it and it takes a very talented actress to make the normal seem strange.

Stranger Than Doctor Strange

Tilda Swinton has always been attracted to roles that forced her out of her comfort zone and has pushed the expectations of what an actress can do in the process. Having played ancient vampires, the messenger of God, an aging rock star and so many other outsiders and weirdos, the Ancient One almost seems like a role made for Swinton.

Which Tilda Swinton role do you think was the weirdest?


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