Tilda Swinton Reveals How Ivanka Trump Inspired Her Villainous ‘Okja’ Character

When Bong Joon Ho's fantastical political satire premiered at Cannes last week, similarities to another blonde heiress were clear.
Tilda Swinton Cannes Okja
Shutterstock / Denis Makarenko

Tilda Swinton is precisely as enigmatic, eloquent, and insightful as you think she is. In a recent interview with The Wrap, the Oscar-winner mused thoughtfully about her sixth film to play the Cannes Film Festival, Bong Joon Ho’s “Okja.” Swinton is an executive producer on the project, a fantastical political satire about a friendship between a  young girl and a hippo-like creature named Okja. Set in an alternate reality, Okja was genetically engineered by a greed-fueled corporation. Swinton plays an eccentric villain named Lucy Mirando, head of the Mirando Corporation.

READ MORE: ‘Okja’ Review: Bong Joon Ho Delivers His ‘E.T.’ With Delightful Tale of a Mutant Pig and the Girl Who Loves Her — Cannes 2017

In the interview, Swinton describes her character as “heir to a rotten great fortune built on the corrupt and morally repugnant initiatives carried out by her father.” Sound familiar? Yes, but Swinton being Swinton, she dances majestically around her answer when asked if she drew inspiration from the Trump children:

“When we shot in New York last summer, I stood watching the Republican convention on the television in our lunch break dressed as Lucy, watching a different daughter of a different dubious dynasty addressing, from a high podium, a big crowd with glossy blond hair, expensive orthodontics and modeling her Barbie-perfect modest pink dress (concurrently on sale online). Chicken? Egg?”

READ MORE: Cannes: Bong Joon Ho’s ‘Okja’ Booed During Technical Glitch and Netflix Logo at First Press Screening

As if that weren’t enough, Swinton then graced us with her earliest Cannes memories, beginning in 1987 when she attended with early collaborator Derek Jarman for “Aria.” She recalls running around Cannes with a “gang” of Ken Russell, Nic Roeg and Robert Altman. “There was a great deal of champagne.” She ends, because she is Tilda Swinton, with a grand flourish:

“I remember walking along the Croisette behind John Hurt and hearing everyone who passed him murmuring as they passed me, ‘L’homme L’elephant!, L’homme L’elephant!’ Robert Altman taught me to play blackjack in the casino. None of us had seen the film before the screening, which was the final night. Derek was refused entry into the Palais for not wearing a bow tie. We borrowed one from a waiter. When we all saw the film, none of us liked it at all, but we had spent a magical school outing together, made friends for life and I doubt any of us ever forgot it.”

Read the full interview here. “Okja” premiered at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. It will be released on Netflix on June 29.

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