Thursday, 15 November 2018

Nobody Can Figure Out If the Old Man in ‘Suspiria’ Is Tilda Swinton Or an Unknown German Actor

Nobody Can Figure Out If the Old Man in ‘Suspiria’ Is Tilda Swinton Or an Unknown German Actor
25 Aug

Tilda Swinton can do anything. And she *may* be playing both man and woman in Suspiria.

The great Tilda Swinton is only credited as one character on Suspiria‘s IMDb page, that being a woman named Madame Blanc. But, you may recall, it was originally reported that Swinton was playing an older male in the film, with set photos earlier this year seeming to confirm that the actress had indeed been put into old age makeup that made her barely recognizable.

So what’s the deal here? Is Swinton playing two characters in the film, Madame Blanc *and* an older man? Well, this one gets real interesting when you browse the film’s IMDb.

On the site, the character Dr. Jozef Klemperer (theorized as the male character Swinton is also playing in the film) is credited to a German actor named Lutz Ebersdorf, who interestingly enough has no other credits on IMDb. The mysterious actor does have a bio on the site, however, which details his life before taking on his first acting role.

The bio was written… by Lutz Ebersdorf. It reads:

“Lutz Ebersdorf was born on February 15th, 1936 in Munich, Germany.

In 1938, when Ebersdorf was just two, his family fled Nazi Germany: first for Geneva in Switzerland, and then to London. Spending most of his youth in Camberwell, London, Lutz returned to Munich in 1954, where he studied Philosophy, taking a particular interest in Gestalt psychology and Psychodrama.

Having graduated in 1957, Ebersdorf went on to co-found the experimental theatre group Piefke Versus – a radical performance ensemble heavily influenced by the Vienna Actionists and in particular the work of Hermann Nitsch. While supporting himself working odd-jobs for several years, Ebersdorf and the other members of the group staged sporadic performances, often in public spaces, and produced several short art films (now believed to be lost films).

Ebersdorf eventually disbanded Piefke Versus in 1964, leaving him free to pursue his studies in Kleinian psychoanalysis. He received his doctorate in 1967. Ebersdorf has worked in Berlin as a practicing Kleinian analyst, specialising in mother-daughter relationships, since 1969. In 2016 director Luca Guadagnino approached Ebersdorf to appear in Guadagnino’s remake of Dario Argento’s Suspiria as Dr Josef Klemperer, a Kleinian psychoanalyst.”

Like Suspiria‘s IMDb page, this week’s new trailer also credits the role to Lutz Ebersdorf, but this one actually features a few lines of dialogue from the character. And, yeah, it very much sounds like Swinton portraying an older German man, lending credence to the theory that, for whatever reason, she is secretly being credited as a fake, nonexistent male actor.

Funny enough, Swinton has in the past donned old age makeup for a film, that being Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. Perhaps to the surprise of no one, Swinton in old age makeup looks a hell of a lot like, you guessed it, Lutz Ebersdorf’s Dr. Jozef Klemperer.

So if it’s actually Swinton playing the old man, why all the secrecy? Is this some kind of plot detail, or did Swinton merely want to take “disappearing into the role” to a whole new level? And will we ever find out the truth, or will this remain a fun little cinema mystery? For what it’s worth, director Luca Guadagnino shot down the theories, calling them “fake news.”

Re-watch the new Suspiria trailer below and check out some set photos of “Lutz Ebersdorf”…

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