Tilda Swinton Says She Is That Old Man in ‘Suspiria,’ After All

But see why actress insists she didn’t “play” the character Dr. Josef Klemperer

tilda swinton suspiria
Tilda Swinton, left and right, in "Suspiria" (Photo credit: Amazon Studios)

Tilda Swinton plays three roles in Luca Guadagnino’s upcoming “Suspiria,” including, as she confirmed to the New York Times after much speculation, the part of Dr. Josef Klemperer, an 82-year-old, male psychoanalyst.

But if you ask her — and the New York Times did — she’s really only playing two people in the film. Because when a photo emerged of Swinton in extensive makeup back in February, “Suspiria” director Luca Guadagnino denied it.

“That’s a complete fake news,” the director told Yahoo Movies UK. “They made a picture of my actor Lutz Ebersdorf and they claimed it was Tilda in makeup.

But as The New York Times cleared up, while Swinton “isn’t” playing Dr. Josef Klemperer, she is portraying the actor “Lutz Ebersdorf.”

It was a semantic trick by the actress, who is known for her gender nonconforming image and physical transformations in her roles. She even issued a statement for Ebersdorf after “he” was unable to attend the film’s premiere at the Venice Film Festival. But when the question was put to her a different way, she issued “an unequivocal yes” that it was her under all the old man makeup.

“Undeniably, I would have to say, for the sheer sake of fun above all,” Swinton told The New York Times for why she wanted to take the role of “Lutz.” “As my grandmother would have it — a motto to live and die by — ‘Dull Not To.’”

Swinton endured four hours of makeup a day from makeup artist Mark Coulier, and she even requested that they fashion her a prosthetic set of genitalia so that she could feel what it was like to have the appendages dangling between her legs and how to adjust her performance accordingly. She even preferred to be addressed on set as “Lutz” and fooled several extras in the process.

Guadagnino’s “Suspiria” opens on Oct. 26. Read the full story about Swinton’s transformation via the New York Times.