Tilda Swinton's Other Suspiria Role Revealed

Lawrence Kim
October 12, 2018

As for the third character played by Swinton, that monstrous role isn't revealed until the end, and Guadagnino had a clear intent in having these three played by Tilda Swinton. One of them has already been put to bed, though, thanks to an article by The New York Times.

Deepening the mystery, a poster for Suspiria showed the elderly man wearing glasses and smoking a pipe with the legend at the top announcing: 'Lutz Ebersdorf is Dr. Klemperer'. To which Swinton would have answered "an unequivocal yes".

The director was slightly less jocular about the character, saying that having the only significant male role being played by a female served an important artistic objective; the film is, at its core, about female identity.

As well as playing Dr Klemperer, Swinton's main role is as the academy's artistic director Madame Blanc. With up to four hours a day in the makeup chair to be turned into Ebersdorf, numerous extras and crew on set did not realize it was Swinton under the layers of makeup.

To aid Swinton in her transformation into Klemperer, Guadagnino hired the Oscar-winning makeup artist Mark Coulier.

During filming it was rumoured that Swinton was going to be playing an old man, but Guadagnino insisted that it was "fake news". Noting Klemperer's preoccupation with a spouse he had lost in the war, she said, "Klemperer is inhabited by the phantasm of his lost wife: He is, in this crucial respect, "played" by a woman". But Guadagnino says, "This is a movie that is very connected to psychoanalysis, and I like to think that only Tilda could play ego, superego and id".

Dakota Johnson in Suspiria
Suspiria: Tilda Swinton finally admits to playing mysterious 82-year-old man

Coulier "thickened Swinton's neck with prosthetics and built her jaw out to look heavier and more masculine" in order to turn the actress into Klemperer. Swinton spent four hours in the makeup chair each day to pull off the look.

Swinton's fake penis and balls are "probably in a box somewhere", Coulier said.

To add another layer to the ruse, Swinton then created an online profile for Ebersdorf on movie database website IMDb, the site now redirects to Swinton's profile. She believes she was playing Lutz Ebersdorf playing Dr Josef Klemperer.

The actress admits to regretting how the secret got out and had revealed she had one final trick planned.

"Frankly, my long-held dream was that we would never have addressed this question at all", Swinton said.

"My original idea was that Lutz would die during the edit, and his 'In Memoriam" be the final credit in the film'.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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