Tilda Swinton used extensive prosthetics and make-up across her entire body to pose as an old man in an elaborate hoax in her latest film.
When the trailer debuted earlier this year, Tilda was compared by some film fans to the ageing psychoanalyst Dr Josef Klemperer previously but director Luca Guadagnino had dismissed the idea of the actress playing the male role as “fake news”.
And while the role was originally accredited to first-time actor Lutz Ebersdorf, Tilda has now come clean and admitted she did play Josef Klemperer, after she was quizzed about the identity of the mysterious “Lutz” by The New York Times.
On her reason for taking on the unusual role, she said: “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’.”
It took four hours to apply all of the prosthetics for Tilda to play the character, for which she also specifically asked for a prosthetic penis.
Oscar-winning make-up artist Mark Coulier was hired to transform Tilda, and he said: “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.”
Mark would also use prosthetics to thicken her neck and built out her jaw to make it look more masculine.
To add another layer to the ruse, Tilda went as far as creating a profile for Lutz IMDb. The Profile now redirects to Tilda’s profile.
She had hoped to never be discovered and had a plan to explain Lutz after the film.
She said: “Frankly, my long-held dream was that we would never have addressed this question at all. My original idea was that Lutz would die during the edit, and his ‘In Memoriam’ be the final credit in the film.”
Luca has now gone back on his denial and said Tilda playing the role was was important because the film is about female identity.
He said: “There will always be this element of femininity at its core. Being a film about the fantastic, it was important that we did not play by the book”.
‘Suspiria’ is a remake of Dario Argento’s 1977 original, and centres on Dakota Johnson’s characterm a young dancer that moves to enrol in an all-girls dance academy in Berlin, only to discover it is run by a coven of witches.
The film was originally announced as a surprise in April to the audience of CinemaCon who got to watch some particularly gruesome scenes from the film.
‘Suspiria’ will be released in the UK on November 16. Watch the trailer below: