And this is why Tilda Swinton is pretty much the greatest, folks.
The secret is finally out, straight from Swinton’s mouth. Yes, in addition to playing Madame Blanc in Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria, Tilda Swinton is also playing the role of male character Dr. Jozef Klemperer, credited to a fake, 82-year-old German actor named Lutz Ebersdorf. Swinton and Guadagnino had been denying the rumor, but she has come clean this week.
In a chat with New York Times, Swinton just revealed all, while Oscar-winning makeup artist Mark Coulier detailed the extensive process required to turn Swinton into an old man.
And yes, Swinton was *deeply* committed to the 4-hour transformation.
“Undeniably, I would have to say, [I did it] for the sheer sake of fun above all,” Swinton told the site, when asked why she decided to play the male character. “As my grandmother would have it — a motto to live and die by — Dull Not To.”
Coulier informed the site, “She did have us make a penis and balls. She had this nice, weighty set of genitalia so that she could feel it dangling between her legs, and she managed to get it out on set on a couple of occasions.”
As it turns out, it was Swinton who wrote “Lutz Ebersdorf’s” biography on IMDb, which really helped sell the ruse that Ebersdorf was indeed a real man making his film debut.
“Frankly, my long-held dream was that we would never have addressed this question at all,” Swinton told New York Times. “My original idea was that Lutz would die during the edit, and his ‘In Memoriam’ be the final credit in the film.”
To be clear, none of this is a spoiler for Suspiria in any way, as the fact that Swinton is playing Dr. Jozef Klemperer has no significance within the story. It’s not a twist. It’s just fun.