It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Tilda Swinton as Minister Mason in Snowpiercer. A performer who makes the phrase “be a shoe” carry all the great menace in the world, and then some others, Swinton gives himself completely to his role. In the process, she creates someone who can be amusingly eccentric at times, but never intimidating. However, Swinton was not always the main contender for this role. Long before production began, Bong Joon Ho had a completely different actor in mind for the role.
Conversation with Synapse, the director noted that he and Swinton first talked about Snowpiercer years before the film’s release, when they were both at the Cannes Film Festival. In this conversation, the duo expressed a mutual desire to work with each other, but a problem arose. At the time, there was no role for Swinton in the script, as Minister Mason was originally written as a male. At this point in production, the role was considered for the role of John C. Reilly. Given Reilly’s talent for blending comedy and drama into his performances, it’s easy to imagine that he would make a good Freemason. However, there’s no denying that Swinton and Minister Mason were meant to be together, and with Bong rewriting the script for Snowpiercer, this exciting fusion of character and actor was made possible.