It’s the very final day of Cannes 2021, when Tilda Swinton swings by a suite in the Majestic hotel wearing a bright multi-coloured jumpsuit. Her hair a shock of blonde, she looks bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. “I actually did sleep well last night,” she reveals, which is surprising given she attended the midnight premiere of Gaspar Noé’s latest movie Vortex. “It’s always nice to see the very last film,” adds the actor, who arrived at this year’s festival with three new movies and a trunk full of statement outfits by Chanel.
Needless to say, the style press swiftly dubbed the Scottish siren ‘the Queen of Cannes’ for her quirky red-carpet chic. But fashion and frivolity has always been a sidebar for Swinton, who is a cineaste first and foremost, right back to her early days when she was the late Derek Jarman’s muse. While she won an Oscar for her conflicted lawyer in Michael Clayton and even popped up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the mystic Ancient One in Doctor Strange, she’s primarily a flag-waver for arthouse auteurs, whether she’s worked with them or not.
Fiercely loyal, Swinton has repeatedly reunited with directors. The French Dispatch, one of her three Cannes flicks, marked her fifth film with Wes Anderson. Jim Jarmusch and Luca Guadagnino, whose career Swinton practically launched when she starred in his 2009 Milanese melodrama I Am Love, have both notched up three films each with Swinton; the Coen Brothers have come to her twice, for Burn After Reading and Hail, Caesar! But then she’s also simmered some relationships on the stove for years, allowing them to come to the boil at just the right moment.
In the case of the mysterious Memoria, her second Cannes competition movie of 2021, in which she takes the lead, she first met its Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul 17 years ago, when she was on the Cannes jury that awarded his 2004 film Tropical Malady a prize. They swiftly became friends. “We came together knowing that we wanted to make work together,” says Swinton. That it took so long for them to find a subject was not something to bemoan.
“I try to stay in the slow, slow camp,” she nods. “First of all, it’s the most enjoyable bit… to build or to prepare something. Also the main event, believe it or not, is not figuring out what film you’re going to make. It’s figuring out your relationship so that when you do come to hop up onto that tightrope, you can work really seamlessly with almost no communication, because at that point you haven’t really got time to talk about all the important stuff, like rhythm and existential situations.”
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Having opened the door to new realities in Spider-Man: No Way Home, the MCU is venturing to worlds unknown in Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness, putting Marvel's Master of the Mystic Arts on a collision course with... himself? Total Film fires up a portal for director Sam Raimi, star Benedict Cumberbatch and the film's extended cast to talk about a bigger, bolder, barmier sequel.
Elizabeth: a portrait in parts - Her majesty as you've never seen her before...
Ms. Marvel Comic co-creator Sana Amanat dishes on the MCU's new high-school hero.
All the Right Moves
Dakota Johnson flexes her producing nous in a team-up with triple-threat newcomer Cooper Raiff for charming coming-of-ager cha cha Real Smooth. They tell Total Film how they nurtured a personal project following a man-child party-starter to Sundance awards triumph and an impressive Apple TV+ sale...
BERGMAN ISLAND Mia Hansen-Løve on being inspired by Sweden's greatest export.
MAN ABOUT TOWN
MEN Meet the many faces of Rory Kinnear in Alex Garland's high-concept horror.
FIRESTARTER Hot new horror helmer Keith Thomas on reigniting Stephen King's classic...
NOPE Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer face horse majeure in Jordan Peele's new mind-scrambler
SUSPECT James Nesbitt and Anne-Marie Duff lead an investigative thriller...
HOT RIGHT NOW
SYDNEY SWEENEY IS CAUGHT IN A WEB...
Police swoop on homes in kidnaps probe
DAWN raids saw police arrest five men as part of an investigation into a pair of kidnappings last month.
Word of Honor
After her acclaimed debut in The Souvenir, the actor returns in its sequel, starring alongside her mother, Tilda, and playing a version of her godmother. All good material for her psychology degree, she says
FIREFIGHTER TO RED DEVIL
Fellingham is a role model in her day job... and now as she leads the new Salford women's RL team
Sarah and Charles Jarman, winners of the country category in our Reader Awards, took on the challenge of bringing their historic village house into the 21st century
Homes evacuated after ‘grenade' find
HOMES were evacuated last night after police discovered what was feared to be a grenade inside a house.
Antonia Traynor Revenge porn deputy head made 'stupid drunken mistake
TEACHER POSTED NAKED IMAGES OF BOYFRIEND'S EX ON FACEBOOK
LEW CAN DO IT
Mikey’s ready to roar for Robins
Surviving the SANDWICH GENERATION
It’s the term for people who are caught in the middle – those with living parents as well as children, all of whom they support. We speak to one woman and her family about how they cope
She’s wowed Hollywood, mesmerised the fashion industry and challenged gender and beauty standards along the way. Now, the ultimate on-screen chameleon has reached yet another milestone – her 60th birthday.
Wake up to walking
From forest bathing to mindful rambling, the outdoors works wonders for mind and body. Time to fill up on fresh air