By DANIEL KUSNER | May 7, 2004
Scottish beauty Tilda Swinton has less than 10 minutes to chitchat.
Maybe it’s her maternal tenderness. Because Swinton’s dreamy presence inside Dallas’ Angelika lobby makes this writer forget that crushing deadlines are steadily ticking away.
That’s no surprise.
When it comes to acting, Swinton’s a master at saying things without words.
The superstar recently visited Dallas to promote “Young Adam,” a fine-art drama, costarring Ewan McGregor.
In “Young Adam,” Swinton plays Ella — a married, Glasgow river-barge owner who hires a sexy, boyish drifter (McGregor).
The discovery of a floating, naked corpse complicates their adulterous romance.
The tale’s a sensual thriller that — because of a tame flash of full-frontal nudity — received an NC-17 rating.
But Swinton’s been at the forefront of daring, graphic and intellectual filmmaking ever since her debut, “Caravaggio” (1986).
That kinky biopic began her collaboration with the late Derek Jarman, the visionary British filmmaker who fathered the New Queer Cinema movement.
Swinton was Jarman’s leading lady for “The Garden” (1990), “Edward II” (1991), “Wittgenstein” (1993) and Jarman’s sawn song, “Blue” (1993).
Also in ’93, Swinton portrayed the immortal, gender-switching nobleman in “Orlando.”
And who could forget her American-film debut as the devoted mom of a gay son in 2001’s nail-biter “The Deep End?”
Swinton is tall: 5’11”.
And in person, she’s so supernaturally beautiful, she’s like an alien-terrestrial who secretly inhabits Earth.
“But I am,” she says while widening her emerald eyes. “I’ve always felt a close connection to David Bowie on those grounds.”
As the mom of son-and-daughter twins, Swinton was stopped in her tracks by a Mother’s Day question — about parents accepting their children’s sexuality.
“A child’s sexuality is none of anybody’s business — not even the mother’s,” she says firmly. “There are bank managers who can’t bear the idea that their sons are going to be bad at math. And there are amateur dramatic mothers who can’t stand the idea of the children not being performers.”
“Of course, I joke that my children will end up being Nazis. Because one’s worst fear is that you won’t be able to take part in your child’s life. And that’s a selfish fear,” she continues.
For moms challenged by their kids’ sexuality, Swinton suggests they read the “On Children” chapter of Lebanese-American philosopher Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet.”
“It talks about the parent being like an archer. You simply draw your arm back and you let your arrow go. The arrow will go further than you could ever travel. It’s not for you to follow the arrow. And you should never skew the arrow so that it will land close to the bow,” Swinton explains. “It’s such a privilege to have children. And on children go. In a way, they come from you. But you can’t go where they’re going."
“Young Adam” opens May 4, 2004, at Dallas’ Angelika-Mockingbird Film Center.
POST SCRIPT: BIG D’S COSMETICS INSPIRE SWINTON
Androgynous scene-stealer Tilda Swinton is George Clooney’s villainess in the corporate thriller “Michael Clayton.”
In a 2007 Entertainment Weekly interview, the Scottish actress dropped hints about the “physical awkwardness” of her immoral exec-lawyer role, Karen Crowder.
“I had this enjoyable fantasy about Karen having chosen her makeup on a trip to Dallas, Texas, years ago to visit her sister,” Swinton told EW reporter Karen Valby.
That sounds familiar...
In 2004, Swinton visited Mockingbird Lane’s Angelika Film Center while promoting “Young Adam” — where I witnessed one of Swinton’s Big D cosmetology sessions.
Her Lone Star-beauty fantasy must’ve been magical and inspiring.
Because Swinton’s nuanced, Oscar-winning turn as an unscrupulous agrochemical attorney in “Michael Clayton” is mesmerizing.