“I’m never in character,” Tilda Swinton declares. “I’m not an actress, I don’t have a career. I have a life."
There’s no mistaking Swinton’s passion — even as the star of 60 films — to remove herself ever so slightly from the assumption that she’s an actress.
Her latest project is I Am Love, a cool romance set in 1970’s Milan which she made with her friend, Luca Guadagnino.
“We started talking about the depth charge of love, that revolutionary idea and the havoc it can release if people are at some kind of brink and not telling the truth about themselves.”
Swinton plays a Soviet Russian who lives with her aristocratic Italian husband’s family in a stultifyingly formal environment. “She is literally in disguise, like a play,” explains Swinton.
“She is painted and dressed and jewelled and doesn’t speak her own language and she doesn’t even have her own name. She is acting her socks off and there is a time when one wants to stop pretending and that time comes.”
That time comes in the form of a handsome young chef, her son’s best friend, with whom she begins an intense sexual affair. Their sex scenes are raw and steamy.
The Academy Award-winning actress (Best Supporting Actress for Michael Clayton), who lives on a farm on the remote north shore of Scotland, sees herself as a “deviser” of films, a producer, but “nothing executive” and certainly not a star. Producing is her primary concern.