If you, like me, think one of the best performances this year came from Tilda Swinton (speaking Russian-accented Italian!) in “I Am Love,” you’ll enjoy this interview with Swinton at Deadline. Swinton and Italian writer/director Luca Guadagnino worked for 11 years on the project, a lushly filmed drama about a frustrated wife who unexpectedly finds passion elsewhere. (Surprisingly, and somewhat controversially, the film is not eligible for a foreign-language film Oscar; despite the success of “I Am Love” internationally, Italy chose to submit a lesser-known film, “La Prima Cosa Bell” — “The First Beautiful Thing” — instead. Nonetheless, Magnolia Pictures is kicking off an Oscar campaign for Swinton in the best actress category.) The entire interview is worth reading — Swinton, who I interviewed once years ago, is an exceptionally thoughtful actor — but I particularly liked this passage, when asked about the challenge of playing a role in a language not her own.
It was the challenge that one set out years ago to address. But the great thing about it taking so long is you have to spread a challenge over a decade in bite-size pieces. I knew she was going to be an alien. That she wasn’t going to speak my language was a relief in many ways. I quite like being outside my own language, particularly someone so silent. But beyond that, no. As I say, this is the great thing about developing something from scratch. I’m not even sure I know where she came from, but she just came from so many books we discussed, and she came from films we discussed, and she came from people that we knew, and she came from someone I hadn’t seen for a couple of years. She just felt very easy and that’s the way I like it: to feel you’re going towards something that feels actually very familiar and very comfortable.