Swinton reveals ‘fun’ hoax
Actress in makeup plays 82-year-old man in horror film
Tilda Swinton has admitted she used prosthetics and makeup to play as an 82-year-old male actor in an elaborate hoax for her latest movie.
The 57-year-old actress is starring in Luca Guadagnino’s horror remake Suspiria, alongside Dakota Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz and octogenarian first-time actor Lutz Ebersdorf.
When pictures emerged online suggesting Swinton and Ebersdorf — who plays a psychoanalyst named Dr. Josef Klemperer — are the same person, director Guadagnino dismissed the suggestions as “fake news.” But in an email obtained by The New York Times, Swinton has admitted she was in fact the elderly male actor. Asked why she was posing as Ebersdorf, Swinton told The New York Times: “Undeniably, I would have to say, for the sheer sake of fun, above all. As my grandmother would have it — a motto to live and die by — Dull Not To.”
Suspiria, a remake of Dario Argento’s 1977 original, centres on Johnson’s character, an aspiring dancer who enrols in an all-female dance academy in Berlin that she later discovers is run by a coven of witches. Guadagnino said Swinton’s casting as a man was essential to ensure “there will always be this element of femininity” at the film’s core. “Being a film about the fantastic, it was important that we did not play by the book,” he said.
The New York Times says Oscarwinning makeup artist Mark Coulier used prosthetics to thicken the star’s neck and built out her jaw to make her feminine bone structure look more masculine. Swinton even created an online profile for Ebersdorf on movie database website IMDb. The site now redirects to Swinton’s profile.