Date of birth:
November 5th, 1961, in London
has spent her childhood on a Scottish family seat, probably the oldest
of the island. She went to school with Lady Diana. She attended Cambridge
University, where she received a degree in social and political sciences.
While at Cambridge, she became involved in acting, performing in a number
of stage productions. Following graduation, Tilda Swinton began her professional
theatre career, working for Edinburgh's renowned Traverse Theatre and the
Royal Shakespeare Company.
She is a rebel, a dialectic-trained
thinker with a psychological depth feeling and a persistent interlocutor.
In personal things, however, she is extremely kind, cordial and helpful.
Tilda Swinton doesn't call herself an not but a performer; therefore she
likes to place her successes with the Royal Shakespeare Company or with
the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh into the background.
For her it is important that she
answers for her work completely alone; she looks at her appearances with
Derek Jarman not as roles, but as pictures. She swears on teamwork and
on work-in-progresses. In co-operation with Derek Jarman she could develop
her distinctive style which she attributes to the anti-illusionistic theatre
of Brecht and to the play maxim Helene Weigel.
is very versatile and known throughout Britain for her idiosyncratic
about transformation as if of a world-view:
is the only thing which we can really rely on. I actually believe in transformation.
Changes are unavoidable; the more we trust changes, the better we feel.
If an individual is afraid of changes, it is only about a feeling, it doesn't
have a real background. There is no reason to be afraid at all. One has
to collar the fear."
She made her
mark in film with her extraordinary performance as Orlando in Sally Potter's
1993 film of the same name. Tilda Swinton about the androgynous concept:
"I would arrange
the androgynous more under the generic term 'immortality'. In this
imaginary arena one can play with all possible ideas, in order to find
out what really obstructs us in such a way. The only way to fasten all
these suppression moments and handicaps is simply to continue what would
be possible, because then all obstacles inevitably become apparent. If
I speak of the reality of the androgynous I mean if we accepted that male
like female beings experienced suppression from the beginning, that girls
such as boys are squeezed in behaviour patterns then we would encounter
the fact that there is a time ' before' it and that we must understand
this period as a time of innocence, liberty and infinite possibilities.
Even if it was only a short time we all carry this memory in us,
a real memory, which is situated before the time of knowledge of what is
male and what is female female, the time of humanity."
In 1985, Tilda Swinton began her
long collaboration with Derek Jarman, both as a friend and fellow artist.
She made her screen debut in his Caravaggio
(1986) and appeared in every one of the director's films until his death
from AIDS in 1994. It was for her role as the spurned queen in Jarman's
(1992) that she earned her first dose of recognition, becoming a familiar
face to art-house audiences on both sides of the Atlantic and earning a
Best Actress prize at the Venice Film Festival for her work in the film.
The acclaim and recognition Tilda Swinton garnered was amplified the same
year with her title role in Sally Potter's award-winning adaptation of
Virginia Woolf's classic tale of an Elizabethan courtier who experiences
drastic changes in both gender and lifestyle over the course of 400 years.
Following appearances in Jarman's
voice only) and in his acclaimed biopic Wittgenstein
(1994), she earned some of her strongest notices to date for her lead in
Perversions (1996), in which she played a successful lawyer
trying to cope with her own insecurities and self-destructive tendencies.
Tilda Swinton then portrayed another brilliant, troubled woman in Conceiving
Ada (1997), a science fiction piece that cast her as the real-life
daughter of Lord Byron, a woman who was widely held to be the inventor
of the first computer.
Never one to choose films for their
simplicity or mainstream appeal, she subsequently appeared in Love
Is the Devil (1998),
John Maybury's controversial account of the life and times of artist Francis
Bacon. She then portrayed a battered wife in The
War Zone (1999), Tim Roth's hellish portrait of extreme family
She most recently
completed a leading role in Robert Lepage's Possible
stage work in the eighties includes a number of plays directed by Stephen
Unwin, among them Peter Arnott's White
Rose (1985), Bertold Brecht's Die
Massnahme and Manfred Karge's award-winning
one-woman play Man to Man,
later reprising her role in John Maybury's 1991 film version. In 1988 she
played Mozart in Pushkin's Mozart and Salieri
directed by Karge in Vienna, Berlin and London. On television, she appeared
in the BBC-1 production of John Byrne's Your
She also made
a nine-minute film, Will We Wake,
commissioned by BBC-2 and broadcast in December, 1998.
Tilda Swinton appeared
in the music video for Orbital's "The Box" (circa 1997) from their "In
Sides" album. She performed an alien.
In 2000 year she could be seen in
Danny Boyle's blockbuster film The Beach
with Leonardo DiCaprio.
In the process, she has emerged
as one of the most talented and fascinating actresses of her generation.
In 2001 Tilda Swinton provides a
moving portrait of suburban anguish in Scott McGehee's The
In 1995 and 1996,
she won international acclaim for The Maybe, a performance-art creation
by the artist Cornelia Parker in which she spent seven days sleeping eight
hours a day in a glass case, first at The Serpentine Gallery in London
and then at Museo Barraceo in Rome.
- 3rd Place The BSFC Award. Best Actress in "Female Perversions"
The "Golden Space Needle" at Seattle Intl. Film Festival. Best Actress
The "Volpi Cup" at Venice Film Festival. Best Actress for "Edward II"
Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress in "The Deep End"
Award for Best Actress in "The Deep End"