RT Interview: Tilda Swinton on Julia

The Oscar-winning actress on tackling alcoholism on screen.

by | May 11, 2009 | Comments

RT Interview: Tilda Swinton on Julia

One of the most diverse and celebrated talents of her generation, the directors on Tilda Swinton‘s CV represent a veritable who’s who of independent cinema and include David Fincher, Spike Jonze, Cameron Crowe, the Coen Brothers and Jim Jarmusch. Few who’ve seen Sally Potter‘s adaptation of Orlando, with Swinton in the title role, will forget the power of her performance, a power she brings to every role she tackles, from Constantine to Burn After Reading. Her supporting role in Michael Clayton earned her an Oscar, but her performance in Julia, out now on DVD, went largely unnoticed despite its impact on those who saw it. Out now on DVD, Swinton sits down with RT to talk about the film.


Julia

[tomatometer]MuzeID=1211574[/tomatometer]

What was it about Julia as a character that made you want to play her?

Tilda Swinton: She reminds me of so many of the great drunks I have known and loved in my life, who have always felt so unlike the kind of loser character often put forward in cinema portrayals.

Is there a particular appeal to exploring characters as unglamorous and as unrelentingly real as Julia?

TS: It certainly does one good to notice how extreme ‘unrelenting realness’ very often is; how far from any concept of good taste or subtlety. When we were developing this film, we went out of our way to be clear with ourselves just how far we needed to go. People like Kate del Castillo‘s character really are that unhinged, desperate people with guns and insanely ferocious dogs do shout that loud, people like Julia do drink that much and that often, the effort to appear sober the morning after drinking as much as she does does involve that much overacting, look that forced and feel that wierd to be around.

Julia

Tilda Swinton in Julia

What are the real challenges and areas of consideration when you’re taking on a character afflicted by something like alcoholism?

TS:The responsibility of going far enough. The resistence to stopping short of the mark for the sake of modesty.

What was the experience of working with Erick Zonca like?

TS: Exhilarating. Multilingual. Random. Addictive. He has to be the least cerebral filmmaker I have ever worked with; he directs outside of any formal or literary concerns whatsoever. He directs energy – nothing less – and is not interested in anything except the authentic. His constant request is for ‘something of different’, ‘something of fantasy’ and, of me in particular, ‘more ugly, Tilda, make more ugly faces’. His allergy to generica and his passion are truly infectious and a tonic to be around. I’d work with him again in a heartbeat.

Continue onto the next page as Tilda Swinton talks about working with children and on location and tells us more about her upcoming reteaming with Jim Jarmusch.

RT Interview: Tilda Swinton on Julia


Julia

[tomatometer]MuzeID=1211574[/tomatometer]

Aidan Gould is remarkable as Tom, what are the joys and challenges of working with children?

TS: I can only think of joys. That they know the proper value of play. That they are up for the practical artifice of pretend; I’ve yet to meet a child of nine burdened with any concept of a method, or the pressure of taking their character home with them or all that displacement stuff. That they are in touch with the fun of making things up. That they are in no screwed-up battle with their dignity all the while. Altogether, in combination with the need for children to work restricted hours, it’s grace.

There’s an incredible amount of location work involved here and some striking locations — do you prefer working on location?

TS: Possibly. It makes for a completely different texture to what you actually shoot, let’s face it, and in the land of realness, or semi-realness, as in Julia, there is a kind of ease that comes with walking into real places surrounded by energies other than that of the film. Real walls, real pavement, real sky all help hold down the make believe and pin it into place.

Julia

Tilda Swinton in Julia

We’re soon to see you in another Jim Jarmusch film, could you tell us a little about your character and the film itself?

TS: Pretty much nothing, I’m afraid. Isaach de Bankole wears sensational shiny suits. I wear a white wig and cowboy hat. Paz de la Huerta wears – mainly – not a stitch. We are all in Spain. Isaach meets us there, on an unexplained mission, as he does Bill Murray, Gael Garcia Bernal, John Hurt, Youki Kudoh and others. We hand him cryptic messages in matchboxes and expound on art, music, science, hallucinogenics and sex. My subject is cinema. Isaach keeps moving. It’s a mystery story with a protagonist so calm, so opaque, that we can rest in his company – go along for the ride in blissful ignorance, perhaps even give up on impatience in the beauty of this landscape, under the umberella of this soundtrack. Credit crunch, eco-friendly, existential travel for the price of a cinema seat and minimal carbon footprint.

Julia is on DVD now.

Tag Cloud

adaptation Watching Series game show what to watch cinemax DC streaming service nature dceu zombies aliens streaming Winter TV rotten movies we love Comics on TV boxing comic Brie Larson cats Animation Sony Pictures medical drama DC Universe biography spy thriller Cosplay prank El Rey CMT The CW cars SXSW Hulu crime First Look Tubi Creative Arts Emmys The Walking Dead TCA Winter 2020 dogs 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards TV One OneApp indiana jones Alien golden globes National Geographic Oscars robots 72 Emmy Awards movie films Pop TV Columbia Pictures Disney streaming service Avengers Box Office independent scorecard documentary jurassic park comic books concert tv talk cults archives Food Network cancelled kids sequels Pirates dragons supernatural theme song all-time Apple First Reviews Endgame harry potter cartoon telelvision Premiere Dates emmy awards sitcom rotten RT21 japanese Valentine's Day Showtime Arrowverse 2019 Comedy Central boxoffice TruTV sag awards Lifetime Christmas movies natural history video on demand worst psychological thriller Apple TV+ adventure CNN The Witch remakes CBS All Access 24 frames Exclusive Video Amazon X-Men Travel Channel teaser Cannes Sneak Peek nbcuniversal quibi witnail Nominations science fiction SundanceTV Paramount talk show Mystery Cartoon Network Lionsgate game of thrones book Marvel HBO Go Britbox Character Guide miniseries Hallmark ABC Signature Binge Guide TV Land award winner IFC australia Mindy Kaling Mary Tyler Moore golden globe awards jamie lee curtis Disney Channel rom-coms E3 Tomatazos BBC Logo Ghostbusters reviews binge Superheroe nfl Epix 71st Emmy Awards facebook New York Comic Con 20th Century Fox FX on Hulu NBC Countdown Song of Ice and Fire docudrama BET political drama crime thriller hist Mudbound zero dark thirty Pop Martial Arts toronto Anna Paquin Shudder Biopics FXX cancelled TV shows TCA 2017 Disney+ Disney Plus transformers Trophy Talk television revenge YouTube Premium latino space football superman screen actors guild Television Academy 4/20 Heroines Classic Film Legendary VH1 canceled TV shows Starz Lifetime GoT comiccon ABC Family crime drama 007 TCA Awards politics Rocketman cooking A24 Pet Sematary Summer composers Music elevated horror ESPN TLC mockumentary documentaries true crime cancelled television Video Games Certified Fresh Marvel Studios Polls and Games 99% E! Captain marvel fresh stoner halloween Writers Guild of America hidden camera Best and Worst Sundance critics social media USA Network Opinion Freeform 45 animated war mission: impossible Marathons Chernobyl Women's History Month ratings OWN richard e. Grant Crunchyroll reboot blockbuster IFC Films The Walt Disney Company The Arrangement crossover french laika Reality Competition Turner Classic Movies satire Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt justice league Set visit spanish language Extras news slashers The Academy Musical Quiz DGA Adult Swim YouTube Red Emmys President free movies YouTube MSNBC USA Black History Month stand-up comedy travel comedies renewed TV shows pirates of the caribbean ghosts foreign italian Turner venice Trailer Superheroes DC Comics ID hollywood Fantasy GLAAD directors black Action Walt Disney Pictures classics Awards Tour Mary Poppins Returns joker dramedy romance cops Toys MTV Emmy Nominations Pixar Hear Us Out Christmas Holidays mutant ABC asian-american Photos Funimation YA Film Lucasfilm doctor who Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Pride Month docuseries Holiday comics kong Netflix Fox News PaleyFest obituary halloween tv romantic comedy Nat Geo Country 2015 canceled Acorn TV worst movies MCU Black Mirror superhero Winners TNT series godzilla 2020 king kong Tarantino Teen technology Warner Bros. serial killer Rocky deadpool a nightmare on elm street singing competition razzies AMC Broadway LGBT festivals children's TV werewolf BAFTA PBS Awards Horror scary movies Podcast die hard TV TCM VICE toy story ITV HBO Max screenings Musicals Star Wars Bravo Paramount Network criterion finale batman CW Seed Trivia BET Awards historical drama Rock spain rt archives fast and furious universal monsters The Purge Stephen King Nickelodeon name the review Television Critics Association police drama Year in Review GIFs Super Bowl TV renewals Baby Yoda FX festival kaiju Shondaland Thanksgiving Discovery Channel stop motion Disney Plus WarnerMedia 2017 unscripted Marvel Television ViacomCBS Netflix Christmas movies Hallmark Christmas movies BBC One A&E Spike Kids & Family versus FOX Masterpiece See It Skip It TIFF disaster Syfy best Star Trek video TBS Crackle trailers strong female leads 21st Century Fox Red Carpet diversity Vudu SDCC PlayStation Sci-Fi chucky dc American Society of Cinematographers sports indie 2021 Spring TV sequel Sundance TV Disney Infographic popular Elton John Grammys VOD Comedy Sundance Now DirecTV Comic Book Reality vampires breaking bad Schedule psycho Ellie Kemper anthology Calendar Western christmas movies zombie Interview Dark Horse Comics Ovation blockbusters Drama hispanic Peacock discovery period drama HBO APB Fall TV child's play BBC America Amazon Prime San Diego Comic-Con spanish Apple TV Plus movies Tumblr CBS Rom-Com dark 2018 women 2016 casting Family NYCC Election Universal thriller south america based on movie blaxploitation franchise Film Festival WGN spider-man History Amazon Prime Video Esquire parents green book TCA james bond Amazon Studios cancelled TV series Academy Awards Mary poppins monster movies RT History twilight Fox Searchlight LGBTQ anime Paramount Plus spinoff Spectrum Originals