Tilda Swinton in 9 of her extraordinary metamorphoses
A few weeks before the release of Suspiria, Luca Guadagnino’s latest movie in which Tilda Swinton plays a witch, Numéro looks at her love for the extravagant and her powers of transformation. A review of 9 of her characters where the actress has truly become someone else…
By Laura Catz
"Orlando", 1992. Tilda Swinton landed the lead role in Sally Potter’s Elizabethan drama “Orlando”, an adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s book. In it she plays a man with long red hair, thus delivering her first exploration of androgynous characters.
"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe", 2005. In the adaptation of CS Lewis’ iconic novels, Tilda Swinton played the terrifying White Witch, with the most exhilarating range of hairstyles, from a dramatic chignon to an octopus of icy dreadlocks.
“The Limits of Control”, 2009. More peroxide than normal, Tilda Swinton sparkles in white in the role of Blonde for Jim Jarmusch’s thriller. She sports a long almost white mane and her diaphanous skin is adorned only with a dash of scarlet lipstick.
"Snowpiercer", 2013. Tilda Swinton brings a dose of humour to Joon-ho Bong’s dystopian flick. Neither male nor female, the Minister Mason is intriguing in her cool dictator physique. For the occasion she wore a silicon prosthetic and adhesive ribbon was used to change the appearance of her nose, along with dentures and a brown bob, all giving her an ultra-strict appearance.
“Only Lovers Left Alive”, 2014. Playing on her atypical physique, Tilda Swinton joined forces once again with Jim Jarmusch for the role of Eve, a wild-haired vampire with very sharp teeth.
"The Grand Budapest Hotel", 2014. Tilda Swinton is unrecognisable as the eighty-something hotel guest in love with Ralph Fiennes' character in Wes Anderson’s masterpiece. To add to the realism she learnt how an old lady would apply her make-up and lipstick.
“Crazy Amy’, 2015. In this Jude Apatow comedy, Tilda Swinton plays a caustic magazine editor who should probably stop abusing the sunbed. A new masterstroke for the British actress who is as comfortable with physical transformations as radical changes of character.
"Doctor Strange", 2016. For the director Scott Derickson, Tilda Swinton takes on another feat of extreme hair by playing a Tibetan witch with a shaved head.
"Okja", 2017. The actress worked with Joon-ho Bong again for another crazy and satirical performance, playing the role of twin sisters, Lucy and Nancy Mirando. She channels Ivanka Trump brilliantly as the head of a food conglomerate with a white blonde fringe, her signature colour, and a set of ultra-realistic false teeth. When she makes her absurd PR speech, a perverse light appears in her eyes and she lets out crazed laugh.
In the remake of Suspiria, Tilda Swinton plays both Madame Blanc and the psychiatrist Jozef Klemperer, an 82-year old man. Every day the actress had to spend 4 hours in make-up. And with her typical exactitude, she even insisted on wearing male genitalia. Beyond.
Suspiria by Luca Guadagnino will be in French cinemas from November 14th.