Tilda Swinton is in talks to join Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange, according to Hollywood insiders THR.
The British actress is being lined up to play the Ancient One in Marvel’s latest superhero vehicle – the Tibetan mystic and mentor to Doctor Strange who trains pupils to become the next sorcerer supreme.
The character – who in the comic books is male – encounters Stephen Strange, a formerly cocky surgeon, after he’s lost the use of his hands and, in a desperate attempt to heal himself, turns to magic.
According to reports, Marvel Studios was originally looking for a male actor to play the role, but had a rethink and decided to make the Ancient One female.
Swinton has notched up a varied range of roles in her 30-year career, from her Oscar-winning turn opposite George Clooney in Michael Clayton, to appearances in We Need to Talk About Kevin and Wes Anderson films The Grand Budapest Hotel and Moonrise Kingdom.
She’s also made a name for herself playing androgynous roles including Virginia Woolf’s nobleman in 1992 film Orlando and half-breed angel Gabriel opposite Keanu Reeves in Constantine – a feature of her CV that may have convinced Marvel to re-imagine the Ancient One as a woman.
Doctor Strange is set to begin filming this November with Cumberbatch currently the only confirmed cast member. Directed by Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) and produced by Kevin Feige (Avengers: Age of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy), the film will be released in UK cinemas on 28th October 2016, a week before it’s available for American audiences.