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When the foot seeks the place of the head, the sacred line is crossed. Know your place. Keep your place. Be a shoe.
~ Mason explaining the situation to the tail passengers.

Deputy-Minister Mason is the secondary antagonist of the 2013 exploitation South Korean/American sci-fi thriller film, Snowpiercer.

She was portrayed by Tilda Swinton, who also portrayed Jadis the White Witch in the Chronicles of Narnia film franchise, Karen Crowder in Michael Clayton, Gabriel in ConstantineLucy and Nancy Mirando in Okja and Madame Blanc and Helena Markos in the 2018 remake of Suspiria.

History

Mason is the second in command aboard the Snowpiercer train, and the spokesperson for its creator, Wilford, for the past seventeen years. She hails from the lavish front section and maintains order over the poorer tail section passengers.

She first appears after Andrew, a father whose son is taken to the front section, throws a shoe at Wilford's assistant, Claude. As punishment, Franco the Elder and Franco the Younger -- two of Wilford's henchmen -- force Andrew's right arm into the freezing cold outside until it is frozen and breakable as punishment.  Mason delivers a speech to the tail passengers, ordering them to know their place so that peace and order can remain on the train. 

Curtis Everett, a tail section passenger, leads a revolution to the front of the train. After defeating several guards, they are greeted by a gang of masked, axe-wielding assassins. A bloody battle commences, with Mason appearing and angrily scolding the tail sectioners for their defiance (despite Wilford having provided them food and shelter aboard the Snowpiercer​ for several years). Informing the rebels that "precisely" 74% of them will die, Mason gleefuly dons a pair of night vision goggles as the train enters a dark tunnel. After more causalites (including Franco the Younger), she is finally stabbed in the leg. Curtis sacrifices his second in command and best friend, Edgar, to take Mason captive.

Upon discovering that the protein bars fed to tail passengers are made of ground-up insects, Curtis prepares to kill Mason. However, she concedes and offers to take the rebels to the head of the train, with Wilford guaranteeing their safe passage. Mason removes her fake teeth as a showing of promise. Curtis accepts.

The group venture through several of the train's more luxious cars, including an aquarium in which Mason offers the group sushi. She explains that the food is served only twice a year to help maintain a sustainable balance in the ecosystem. Curtis forces Mason to eat a protein bar, who is visibly disgusted.

They then enter a classroom, in which schoolchildren learn about Wilford and the train's history One of Wilford's agents, Egg-head, arrives with a wheelbarrow full of boiled eggs in celebration of the New Year (marking one circumnavigation of the globe). Curtis finds a message which reads "BLOOD" within his egg. The teacher abushes the group, killing Andrew as Egg-Head and Franco massacre the rest of the tail passengers further back. She is then killed by Grey, a member of Curtis's group.

Mason crawls to the teacher's corpse and attempts shoot Curtis with her gun, but he stops her. She begs for mercy, claiming the attack wasn't her fault. However, the group are treated to a broadcast of Franco the Elder executing Curtis's mentor, Gilliam, and several other tail passengers. Realizing that he must lead the rebellion once again, Curtis shoots Mason in the head. Her corpse is later discovered by a pursuing Franco the Elder and several soldiers.

Trivia

  • Mason was originally a male character and first mentioned as a "peaceful" one in the original scenario. This was totally changed when Tilda Swinton was cast.
  • Joon-ho Bong first wrote the part of Mason with John C. Reilly in mind, but then adapted the character for Tilda Swinton, though he intentionally left lines of Mason being referred to in the masculine-form in the script, which show up in the movie.
  • Tilda Swinton had to spend more than two hours in the make-up chair.
  • The glasses that Mason was wearing were originally Tilda Swinton's. When Joon-ho Bongvisited her, they played with her children's play box and found them.
  • Tilda Swinton later appeared in another Bong Joon-ho movie but as the main antagonist, Okja as Lucy Mirando and Nancy Mirando.
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