Tilda Swinton is a brainy actress who swings easily from passion indie projects (“Orlando,” “The Deep End,” “Julia,” “I Am Love,” “The Zero Theorem”) to studio fare, from arch-villains to objects of desire, and from devoted mother in the Scottish highlands to glamourous globe-trotting movie star.
Swinton’s androgynous attributes, from Sally Potter’s “Orlando” to Bong Joon-ho’s “Snowpiercer,” are an asset for this chameleon. Her latest roles in “Snowpiercer” (which is now streaming on Netflix) and “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Wes Anderson’s follow-up to “Moonrise Kingdom” (in which she also starred), are generating supporting actress awards talk. They both brought out the clown in her, she says in our video interview below at the Sunset Tower Hotel. She got a kick out of creating these face-distorting roles. She and Bong wanted to work together, so he let her read “Snowpiercer.” Her role was very different–and written for a man.
She’s in town for the Coens’ next, “Hail Caesar!” opposite frequent leading man George Clooney. Yes, it started shooting in January, is a comedy, and no, she may not be playing Hedda Hopper. In the can is another comedy, Judd Apatow’s “Trainwreck” (July 2015). Filming now is “I Am Love” director Luca Guadagnino’s new relationship drama about exes, “A Bigger Splash.”
Swinton won her Oscar as Clooney’s nemesis in “Michael Clayton,” made love to Clooney in the Coens’ “Burn After Reading” and Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and struck fear in Narnia as ice queen Jadis. After appearing in Jim Jarmusch’s “Broken Flowers” and her cameo in “The Limits of Control,” she committed to star in his next, whatever it turned out to be. That must-see film was yummy vampire romance “Only Lovers Left Alive,” in which she played an ancient vampire much older than her lover (Tom Hiddleston). (We agree that it is Jarmusch’s best to date.) At age 53, she’s as beautiful without makeup as she is with it.
When she’s not acting or producing or mothering, she has long enjoyed film festivals and performance art and has combined them playfully (in league with film historian Mark Cousins) in a series of events, from the Cinema of Dreams to the Edinburgh Film Festival’s Flash Mob. As you can see from this interview, Swinton is both serious and great fun.