Before her Strange new role as The Ancient One, take a look back in our Tilda Swinton movies spotlight
Tilda Swinton is known for her gender-bending style and quirky roles. She’ll next be seen as The Ancient One in the upcoming Marvel film Doctor Strange. The character, created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1963, is, in the comics, an Asian, male sorcerer who becomes magic mentor to Stephen Strange. Swinton can also be seen in the upcoming remake of the horror film Suspiria. She has has played everything from a vampire to a witch to the mother of a killer, and she’s played a man more than once. There are so many amazing performances in her body of work, and we’ve chosen our favorites. Which are yours? Are you excited for Doctor Strange? Let us know in the comments.
Tilda Swinton Movies Spotlight: Orlando (1992)
Swinton played the lead role in this film based on Virginia Woolf‘s 1928 novel “Orlando: A Biography.” It’s the story of a a nobleman in the time of Queen Elizabeth I (also a gender-bent role played by Quentin Crisp) who is given the chance to hold property if he does not die, wither or grow old. Orlando (Swinton) lives alone for centuries and after a trip, is transformed into a woman, also played by Swinton. The film explores the expectation of gender roles and what happens when you don’t fit in.
Tilda Swinton Movies Spotlight: The Deep End (2001)
This film is a loose adaptation of the book “The Blank Wall” by Elizabeth Sanxay Holding. In it, Swinton plays Margaret Hall, a suburban mom who’s son (Jonathan Tucker) is having an affair with a nightclub owner (Josh Lucas). When that owner dies, she and her son are blackmailed about the death and his sexuality. Swinton was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress for this one.
Tilda Swinton Movies Spotlight: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
Swinton plays Jadis, the White Witch in this film based on the classic C.S. Lewis fantasy series. Jadis holds the kingdom of Narnia in her icy grip, keeping it in eternal winter. She tries to capture the Pevensie siblings who come to Narnia through their wardrobe by offering the easiest target Edmund (Skandar Keynes) a Turkish Delight and the possibility of being King of Narnia to bring them in. Swinton returned to the role in both sequels; Prince Caspian in 2008 and The Voyage of the Dawn Trader in 2010.
Tilda Swinton Movies Spotlight: Constantine (2005)
In this film, which is based on the DC Comics character John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), created by Alan Moore, Swinton plays the half-angel Gabriel. Constantine was sent to hell for a suicide attempt. He didn’t stay there, however, and is working as an exorcist until he’s taken back at the end of his life. Gabriel is involved in a plot to take over hell and resents God’s favoritism to human beings. There is still talk of a sequel and there was a short-lived television show, with the character showing up on Arrow as well.
Tilda Swinton Movies Spotlight: Michael Clayton (2007)
Swinton won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for this film, starring George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson and Sydney Pollack. The film was nominated for a total of seven awards that year. It’s the story of a shady law film “fixer” (Clooney) who discovers that his partner knew about the dark dealings of one of their clients and was going to expose it. Swinton plays an unbalanced lawyer who orders that partner’s murder to keep everything secret.
Tilda Swinton Movies Spotlight: Julia (2008)
Swinton plays the lead role in this film about a desperate alcoholic woman. Julia meets a woman named Elena (Kate del Castillo) who convinces her to kidnap Elena’s son from his grandfather for a lot of money. She ends up in a mess of trouble in Mexico after the plot goes terribly wrong. Though the film did well with critics in Europe, U.S. reviewers weren’t as kind.
Tilda Swinton Movies Spotlight: We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)
In this Lynne Ramsey film, for which Swinton was also nominated for a Golden Globe, the actress plays Eva Khatchadourian, the mother of a child who commits a massacre. While working near the prison her son is incarcerated in, Eva looks back over her life to try to figure out what it was that caused her son to become a killer. Though it’s a difficult film to watch, it’s an interesting look at the factors that go into something we see all too often these days.
Tilda Swinton Movies Spotlight: Snowpiercer (2013)
This very strange film from director Bong Joon-ho stars an eclectic cast that includes Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, Go Ah-sung, John Hurt, and Ed Harris. Humanity has attempted to correct climate change and ends up turning the earth into a frozen wasteland. The remnants of the human race live aboard a train called “Snowpiercer.” Evans leads a rebellion from the lower class back area of the train against the upper class in the front of the train. Swinton plays Deputy Minister Mason, who tries to keep everyone “in their place.” The film is definitely worth a watch, but expect to tilt your head like a confused dog from time to time.
Tilda Swinton Movies Spotlight: Only Lovers Left Alive (2014)
Swinton plays Eve, a vampire married for centuries to Adam (Tom Hiddleston), but estranged from him. Neither feeds on humans for fear of blood contamination, instead relying on dealers. Adam is suicidal, and Eve tries to convince him that their clearly doomed existence isn’t doomed at all. It’s a very unusual take on the genre and was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
Tilda Swinton Movies Spotlight: The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Swinton plays another strange character in this Wes Anderson film starring pretty much every major star in Hollywood, including Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Lea Seydoux, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson and Tony Revolori. Swinton plays Madame Celine Villeneuve Desgoffe-und-Taxis. Fiennes’ Gustave is a concierge at the hotel who “keeps company” with wealthy older women including Madame D. She dies and leaves him a painting called “Boy With Apple,” which sets off an adventure for the young Zero (Revolori).
What’s your favorite Tilda Swinton film? Let us know below. Doctor Strange will hit theaters on November 4, 2016.