The One

> The ac­tress takes on the role of The An­cient One in Marvel Stu­dio’s lat­est film

The Sun (Malaysia) - - THE BIG PICTURE -

FOR Academy Award win­ner Tilda Swin­ton ( far right), re­ceiv­ing an in­vi­ta­tion to join the Marvel Cin­e­matic Uni­verse was “a good day”. The fact that Doc­tor Strange ( right and above) pre­sents a whole new world of magic and al­ter­nate dimensions ap­pealed to the renowned ac­tress.

“It is in­tro­duc­ing us to an­other world,” Swin­ton says. “It’s about the mind and our ca­pac­ity to af­fect our real­ity with our thoughts.

“What I find so in­spir­ing about Marvel is that they tend to be pretty ex­per­i­men­tal as film­mak­ers. They’re al­ways tak­ing tech­nol­ogy beyond the edge.

“Reg­u­larly, they’re in­vent­ing new tech­nol­ogy to do things that a year ago they wouldn’t have been able to do.”

After bril­liant, ar­ro­gant neu­ro­sur­geon Dr Stephen Strange has a car crash, he loses the use of his hands and seeks al­ter­na­tive ways of heal­ing when op­er­a­tions to re­store his hands fail.

Of­fer­ing in­sight on how he meets The An­cient One and how their re­la­tion­ship evolves, Swin­ton says: “Strange hears about this legendary healer in this place called Ka­mar-Taj in Kath­mandu.

“So, he ba­si­cally spends his last penny on a ticket and goes to Nepal and finds The An­cient One, who’s not ex­actly what he ex­pected.

“He is not im­pressed at all. But then, she shows him her skills, and he re­alises that he has to learn from her, so it evolves into a men­tor-pupil re­la­tion­ship.”

Though lit­tle is known of this mys­te­ri­ous char­ac­ter played by Swin­ton, the ac­tress of­fers: “We learn early on in the story that she is Celtic and is of a com­pletely in­de­ter­mi­nate age.

“No­body knows The An­cient One’s name. No one re­ally cares; they just ac­cept and re­vere this unique be­ing and go for­ward. She sim­ply is.”

De­scrib­ing The An­cient One’s look, Swin­ton says: “With The An­cient One, we wanted to go for some­thing very fluid, very sort of non-spe­cific and pure and age­less. Nei­ther young or old: only age­less.

“So we ended up go­ing for some­thing pretty raw and un­adorned and mod­ern and that has an ar­chaic feel too: some­thing eter­nal.

“The An­cient One car­ries deep scars on her skull, in­di­cat­ing a long, long life, the sur­vival of great bat­tles, a war­rior’s path: the tough­ness of this de­tail un­der­scores the light touch of her pres­ence with a dark and se­ri­ous note. She may make one a de­li­cious cup of tea, but The An­cient One is also the ul­ti­mate badass.

“In terms of cos­tume, we draw on a de­lib­er­ately wide spec­trum of in­flu­ences across the ages and the planet: for ex­am­ple, the plaited linen de­tail on the bodices echoes the bind­ings of Egyp­tian mum­mies, the lay­er­ing of the many-lined coats re­calls tai­lor­ing across both cen­turies and con­ti­nents.

“Bud­dhist robes were def­i­nitely a ref­er­ence in de­vel­op­ing The An­cient One’s cos­tume, not least in the colour pal­ette, al­though per­haps the strong­est in­flu­ence is con­tem­po­rary fash­ion de­signer Haider Ack­er­mann, who in­spired much of the leather­work and the flow­ing sil­hou­ette over­all.

“The An­cient One’s look is a glo­ri­ous mash-up, his­tor­i­cally res­o­nant and freshly present in the same ges­ture.”

Swin­ton pre­pared for the phys­i­cal de­mands of the role by work­ing with the tal­ented stunt team and a group of ex­tra­or­di­nary mar­tial artistes, as well as with Ju­lian Daniels who taught her hand move­ments.

Com­ment­ing on the ex­pe­ri­ence, she re­calls: “It was like be­ing at a most de­li­cious school. We were learn­ing all th­ese things that we would never oth­er­wise have learned.

“You want to do some­thing that draws on cer­tain dis­ci­plines or cer­tain tra­di­tions but at the same time you want to do some­thing that’s never been done be­fore.

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