Tilda Swinton isn’t the only one playing multiple roles in “Suspiria.” Lead star Dakota Johnson also has a secret second role, though it could have gone completely missed if director Luca Guadagnino hadn’t pointed it out.
In an interview with Vulture, Guadagnino advised viewers to watch closely during the film’s opening titles. If you look closely as Johnson’s character Susie leaves for the Markos Dance Academy, you can see Johnson also playing Susie’s twin sister, Naomi. Unlike Swinton’s characters, this is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it bit role.
“Her sister looming there,” said the director, who shared it’s the first time he’s shared the fact that Johnson played two roles in the film.
“She’s really bombastic, and she’s really bold,” said Guadagnino about Johnson’s acting style. “She doesn’t shy away. She goes for it. She’s not pretty and nice and acting. She’s really committed to be.”
As for Swinton’s multiple roles in the film, Guadagnino previously denied a report that she played the male character Josef Klemperer, saying, “They made a picture of my actor Lutz Ebersdorf and they claimed it was Tilda in makeup.” But the filmmaker was simply playing along with a verbal trick by Swinton. He said that while Swinton “isn’t” playing Dr. Josef Klemperer, she is portraying the actor Lutz Ebersdorf.
In this latest interview, Guadagnino was asked why he felt it was necessary to have Swinton perform three different roles, playing the evil, decrepit Mother Helena Markos and the Academy’s head, Madame Blanc, as well as Klemperer.
“After I got her the script, it was an ongoing conversation I had with David about these three roles. I felt it had to be Tilda for all of them, because this is a film that deals a lot with the uncanny and unconscious,” he said. “I thought it would be good to have Tilda playing all the three aspects of a human psyche — the id, the ego, and the superego.”
He added that half the cast and crew didn’t realize that Swinton was playing Klemperer, thinking that her alias, Lutz Ebersdorf, was a real German actor. Guadagnino joked that it was sad that Ebersdorf’s acting career would only be limited to one movie.
“He’s quite old. Maybe if he doesn’t die, we can hire him to do something else.”
“Suspiria” hits theaters this Friday.