In the Call Me by Your Name sequel, maybe Swinton will play the peach.
Photo: Amazon Studios
It turns out that Luca Guadagnino’s latest Hollywood “It” boy is actually just his regular muse, Tilda Swinton. Speaking to the New York Times, Swinton and Guadagnino confirmed that Suspiria’s character actor “Lutz Ebersdorf” is actually just Swinton in heavy makeup. “The answer to the question to me, ‘Are you playing Dr. Klemperer in Suspiria?’ is always that Dr. Klemperer is played by Lutz Ebersdorf,” Swinton told the Times via email. Lutz Ebersdorf, however, is played by Swinton, because come on — why not! “Undeniably, I would have to say, for the sheer sake of fun above all. As my grandmother would have it — a motto to live and die by — ‘Dull Not To.’”
There was a more serious reason, too: Suspiria deals in the fantastic, and the Dr. Klemperer character was especially in tune with femininity. “Klemperer is inhabited by the phantasm of his lost wife,” Swinton said. “He is, in this crucial respect, ‘played’ by a woman. She dictates the rhythm of his life in the everyday texture of his bereaved loneliness.”
Swinton penned a phony IMDb biography to keep the secret, and wore fake genitalia, created by makeup artist Mark Coulier, while in character. (“She did have us make a penis and balls,” Coulier told the paper. “She had this nice, weighty set of genitalia so that she could feel it dangling between her legs, and she managed to get it out on set on a couple of occasions.”) Both she and Guadagnino were miffed when their secret got out. “Frankly, my long-held dream was that we would never have addressed this question at all,” Swinton told the Times. “My original idea was that Lutz would die during the edit, and his ‘In Memoriam’ be the final credit in the film.”