Empire Magazine Talks to Tilda Swinton

Posted May 31, 2005 11:08 pm by Tirian

From the British movie magazine EMPIRE:

It’s no surprise that, when first approached to play the evil queen of frostbitten fantasy-world Narnia, Tilda Swinton had reservations. After all, why would a British arthouse doyenne, best known for her work with Derek Jarman, ever imagine herself as a polar-bear whipping poster girl for a multi-million-dollar, Disney-funded fairy tale? It’s not even like she was a fan of C.S. Lewis’ book, the much loved tale of how four World War II evacuee children quest to free Narnia from the queen’s wintry curse.

“It’s a tall order to play the epitome of all evil,” she confides at the production’s base in Auckland. “She’s not actually human. She’s really a cipher; she’s whatever these children need her to be, to make them capable of becoming what they need to become by the end of the tale.”

“But,” she adds with a smile, “I am very white!” Certainly, physically speaking, the none-more-pale Swinton’s a perfect choice, and any doubts she had about the project were soon dispelled by the sheer grandeur of the sets, from her own Great Hall, a cathedral-like cavern with massive icicle-pillars, to the snowy woodland built in an equestrian centre that matches Pinewood’s 007 sound stage for size.

Given the project’s scale, location and material, Lord of the Rings comparisons are rife. But the filmmakers themselves are keen to emphasise the distinctions. “A lot of people have described it as a cross between Rings and Harry Potter” says producer Mark Johnson. “Well I’ve now seen a lot of it cut together, and what’s wonderful is that it’s its own animal. I’m a big fan of those movies, but this couldn’t be more different.”

Thanks to Jints for the write-up.