RT Interview: Tilda Swinton on Julia
The Oscar-winning actress on tackling alcoholism on screen.
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.
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.
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.