The Tao of Tilda Swinton

Tilda Swinton, a mother of two, spoke with us from London about her experience working on the film Julia, collaborating with Marilyn Manson, and her future do-good passion project.
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In the film Julia, Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton plays an alcoholic turned sloppy extortionist when she kidnaps a young boy and holds him for ransom. With her layered, spot-on performance, she transforms a train wreck of a woman into someone who's kind of sympathetic.

Ladies' Home Journal: There are scenes in this film where we're just watching Julia self-destruct. How do you prepare for a role like that?

Tilda Swinton: Well, it's a very practical business, really. Erick [Zonca, the director] was looking for something very precise, real, and documentary in feel, which means that nothing can feel stylized or fake. So knowing that, my main preparation was simply to look as if I had been living at large for 20 years...and once I had a few extra pounds, wearing clothes that were too tight, heels that were too high, and too much makeup, it was really very straightforward.

LHJ: You have to play drunk a lot during this film, which I've heard actors say is very difficult to do without going overboard.

TS: [Laughing] My direction was to go overboard. When it came time to do all the really drunk stuff, I was a little apprehensive because I'm not a good drunk myself. If I drink, I fall asleep or throw up. I'm not the kind of rolling, energetic drunk that Julia is. Then I suddenly realized that I've been pretending to be drunk all my life without actually having drunk anything. When I've been hanging out with my glorious drunk friends, I'm perfectly sober so that I can call the cops when the neighbors tell everybody to turn the music down. And I'm the designated driver.

Continued on page 2:  Playing a Difficult Character


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