RB: You play the title character in Julia, which comes out on DVD on August 18. She's an alcoholic who kidnaps a young boy. Is it true that you don't drink or smoke, but threw yourself into both for the role?

TS: Well, I can't drink. It might have helped if I'd been able to, but I can't function. I fall asleep if I drink, so I'm a useless drunk. Julia's ability to be functional at any rate when she's as fired up as she is is quite awe-inspiring for me. And I certainly couldn't imagine putting another cigarette in my mouth after playing that role, so that was great aversion therapy. But I knew [director] Erick Zonca's work, I knew he worked with a kind of very documentary kind of feel, and that means everything has to be as real as it possibly can be. That doesn't mean that one necessarily becomes a suicidal drunk, but it means one has to look like one has been drinking very heavily for the last 20 years. So the more work I could do beforehand to build a certain kind of body and ravaged look, than the less fake it would be. I always like to do the work beforehand so when we get to the shoot I can just play and not think about anything else. That did mean that most of my work took place before we started. I ate a lot of pasta and stayed up a lot. Those were real undereye bags.

What's your favorite Tilda Swinton performance? Comment below!


Next Story