Tilda Swinton is often described as fearless, due to her wide range of challenging and surprising roles on screen as well as her daring fashion choices on the red carpet. But the actress thinks the term is too subjective. "One man's risk is another man's comfort zone," she explained. "I'm not easily scared, to be honest. I'm too lazy to get easily scared, I think."
Let it be said: Tilda Swinton is certainly not lazy. The mother, actress, and style icon recently starred in the films Okja and War Machine, and will appear in Suspiria and Isle of Dogs in 2018. Even her hidden talents are industrious (they include finding things and sewing). For more, read on.
When you were a young girl, did you always have a sort of fashion-forward outlook? Did you wear unusual things?
I mean, what somebody might think of as unusual is what somebody else thinks of as super comfortable and inspiring and interesting and natural, and I've never truly been that aware of fashion as such. I mean, I'm really interested in style. Most of the things that I love to see other people rocking or rock myself are things that, you know, aren't for sale this year so it's not really about – I'm not that into trends.
I went to a school that had uniforms, and one of the great things about going to a school with uniforms, which I don't necessarily think is such a great thing, is that everybody with an ounce of sense will customize their uniform. So you may be told that you have to wear a navy blue skirt and white shirt and a tie, but there are 15,000 ways of wearing all the above and, you know, do you have your shirt tucked up like this, or do you have your tie over here, or do you have your collar up at the back.
What was your technique?
Oh, just scruffy. Scruffy and then passing off scruffy as kind of directional, I suppose.
Does it take you a long time to get dressed?
I'm very, very low [key] I don't exactly spend much time on the mascara, as you might have guessed, and, no. Anything that takes a short time to get in and out of is a good thing in my book.
Is there anything that scares you?
I'm not easily scared. I'm wary of being bored. I'm not easily bored, but I think – It's funny you talk about risk taking, 'cause I think risk taking is such a subjective thing. You know, one man's risk is another man's comfort zone I'm not easily scared, to be honest. I'm too lazy to get easily scared, I think.
The thing about the whole fearlessness debate is that, as I say, what one person is gonna think would take a great deal of guts and denial somebody else thinks is just the easiest step, and all the other alternatives, like not doing it,are less interesting. I love not knowing what I'm doing next.
Speaking of what's next, tell me about your newest film, Okja, which recently premiered on Netflix
The film is a love story between a young girl and her best friend who happens to be a massive pig. A super pig, to be precise, who's sort of half the size – between the size of a hippo and an elephant, but it's also about the food industry, and corporate lies, and I play, a corporate liar in the shape of Lucy Mirando, who is the heir to a really noxious agrochemical company, like the most noxious agrochemical company on the planet. Her father was the guy who was into chemical weapons, and she's inherited this company, and she's decided to give it a whole reboot and make it all terribly woke and organic and still make a lot of money and exploit a lot of people, and lie about that, but make it all look terribly green and gorgeous, and she's into PR big time, and the whole thing goes very badly wrong.
For being the least corporate person in the universe, you have played corporate people quite a bit. This is so unusual to me. Why, for instance, Michael Clayton?
That was the most exotic transformation, I would say, that I have ever undertaken. You know, superheroes. Immortals pale into insignificance beside [my character] Karen Crowder, a corporate lawyer.
Had you ever worn pantyhose, other than in that film?
Pantyhose doesn't work with me. Pantyhose sort of ends up just above my knees. It makes me walk strange, so I'm not a big one for pantyhose.
Also, your performance in Trainwreck was great. And I liked your tan. How did you feel with your tan?
I felt a little different. A little sassy. A hot mess.
It was brilliant. You know, people didn't recognize you.
Yeah, I'm delighted about that. It's a nice thing.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I have three or four secret skills that I've boasted about shamelessly for years. So I'm gonna pull them out again. Okay? Fish pie. Mending things – really good at mending things, whether it's china or wood, but I love sewing. I love mending, sewing things. Also, reverse parking.
You're a very good driver?
I wouldn't say that, but I'm a very good reverse parker. It's occasionally useful, but not all the time. It has limits. But finding things, that's my super-duper skill. Anything that gets lost, I can find.
I have an earring I'm missing. I would like you to come over.
Put me on the case. I'm quite cheap. I will find it.
Do you sing in the shower?
I don't – I'm not a shower person. I'm a bath person, and I hum in the bath.
Can you sing?
I can. Of course I can sing. Everybody can sing. I think it's a complete myth that people get told when they're children. "Oh, you can sing and you can't sing." It's not true. Trust me.
Watch: Tilda Swinton Dishes on Who She Thinks is a God