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Tilda Swinton

31 May
Tilda Swinton by Craig McDean

Tilda Swinton by Craig McDean (I know, I thought it was Bowie, too)

‘ethereal’

Okay, now I’ve got that one out of the way, we need to talk about Tilda Swinton. In the wake of Cannes’ preview screenings of We Need To Talk About Kevin, people have been fawning all over her, and there’s no wonder why.

The film is going to be sooooo great. Based on Lionel Shriver’s 2003 bestseller of the same name, the epistolary novel is an itchingly unsettling stare-out with the hideous paranoias (and realities) of parenting and being a child. Just as the great Celine Dion¬†says, the book is for all the children in the world and all the parents in the world. That is: fucking everybody. In theory. Funnily enough, the author, Lionel Shriver, doesn’t have any children. It’s easy to see why, though, if her expectations of childrearing are signalled in the book. I’m not sure Tilda is the best person for this role: she seems too stoic, too distant. However, without giving the game away, it’s going to be easier for audience to feel safe from Kevin if his evil is not solely manifested by his nature, but attributable to his nurture/his mother. And I have a sneaking suspicion that¬†Tilda’s not as harsh as she comes across on mainstream celluloid.

If you haven’t already art-wanked over all the Derek Jarman collaborations, you’ll recognise Tilda’s androgynous, razor-featured visage from small, yet integral parts in Hollywood fare such as The Curious Case of Benjamin and The Beach. Oh come on, you definitely know her. She’s snogged both Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. AND she’s probably the most boyish person George Clooney will admit to snogging – as can be seen in Burn After Reading – and also won an Oscar for another performance alongside the coffee-flogging eternal bachelor, in the fantastic thriller Michael Clayton.

Her sex life is seen as controversial, because she has children with an older man and sex with a younger man and they all live happily in the same wind-whipped mansion up a hill in Scotland. But TBH, it just makes her sexier: that a woman with no obvious interpretation of femininity (just look at the hair) can fuck who she likes, is so refreshing. Even if she’s not sleeping with women, she remains a role model to any woman who is a bit of a misfit, but (unlike Gaga, who wants to paint us all as freaks and monsters), doesn’t self-identify as one.

Her hair sums it all up. Ginger or icy blonde, it’s always a perfect combination of mess and precision.