It’s hard to imagine anyone but Tilda Swinton taking on the role of Minister Mason in “Snowpiercer.” A performer who makes the phrase “be a shoe” carry all the immense menace in the world and then some, Swinton wholly commits to the part. In the process, she creates someone who can be occasionally amusingly eccentric but whose never not terrifying. However, Swinton wasn’t always the primary person up for this role. Long before production began, Bong Joon-ho had a radically different actor in mind for this part.
, the director noted that he and Swinton had first talked about “Snowpiercer” years before the movie came out, when they were both at the Cannes Film Festival. In this conversation, the duo expressed a mutual desire to work with one another, but there was an issue. At the time, there wasn’t a part for Swinton in the script since Minister Mason was originally written as a man. At this stage of the production, John C. Reilly was being eyeballed for the role. Considering Reilly’s gift for balancing comedy and drama in his performances, it’s easy to imagine that he could’ve also made a good Mason. However, there’s no denying that Swinton and Minister Mason were meant to be, and thanks to Bong giving the “Snowpiercer” script a rewrite, this exciting merger of character and actor was made possible.