Scottish actress Tilda Swinton has less than 10 minutes to chitchat.
Maybe it’s her inherent maternal instincts. Because her graceful-and-inviting demeanor makes this writer forget that crushing deadlines are steadily ticking away.
That’s no surprise.
When it comes to acting, Swinton is a master at saying things without words. Swinton recently visited Dallas to promote her new film, “Young Adam,” which she costars with Ewan McGregor.
In the film, Swinton plays Ella, a river-barge owner who hires a young drifter (McGregor). Things get complicated when a corpse is found drifting in the water.
The tale is a sensual thriller that — because it contains the tamest flash of full-frontal nudity — has been rated NC-17.
But Swinton has been at the forefront of daring, intellectual and graphic filmmaking ever since her debut, “Caravaggio” (1986). That film started a collaboration with the late Derek Jarman, the visionary British filmmaker who’s credited for fathering 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 1993, Swinton starred as the immortal, gender-switching nobleman in “Orlando.” And who could forget her performance as the fiercely devoted mother of a gay son in 2001’s “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 green eyes. “I’ve always felt a close connection to David Bowie on those grounds.”
As a mother of twins — a boy and a girl — 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 mothers who are having any difficulty accepting their child’s sexuality, Swinton suggests they read the parenthood section of Lebanese 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,” she 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.
May 4, 2004: “Young Adam” opens today exclusively at the Angelika Film Center.
*POST SCRIPT — TILDA GETS STYLED IN BIG D
Androgynous cinema goddess Tilda Swinton appears in the new George Clooney thiller “Michael Clayton.”
In a recent Entertainment Weekly interview, the Scottish actress dropped hints about the “physical awkwardness” of her corporate ball-busting character, 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.”
That sounds familiar.
In 2004, Tilda stopped in the Angelika Film center while promoting “Young Adam.”
She was exceedingly gracious and said it was her second trip to Big D.
Guess she picked up some incredible inspiration while here. Because her “Michael Clayton” performance is breathtaking.