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Suspiria: Tilda Swinton reluctantly confesses to playing old man in elaborate hoax

Internet sleuthing meant the film's final credit had to be cut

Christopher Hooton
Friday 12 October 2018 16:43
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The team behind the horror-drama Suspiria have finally given up the pretence that the character Dr Josef Klemperer was played by an octogenarian first-time actor named Lutz Ebersdorf.

Tilda Swinton has revealed that no such man exists and it was indeed her – as many suspected – under prosthetics for the role.

Swinton, who also plays dance troupe director Madame Blanc in Luca Guadagnino’s film, hoped not to have to reveal her secret second role, saying that internet sleuthing had cost the movie its final credit.

“Frankly, my long-held dream was that we would never have addressed this question at all,” she told The New York Times. “My original idea was that Lutz would die during the edit, and his In Memoriam be the final credit in the film.”

Rumours first swirled that Swinton may be Klemperer when paparazzi photos from the set suggested prosthetics were at play.

Trailer for Suspiria from Amazon Studios

Suspiria director Guadagnino initially dismissed these suggestions as “fake news”, and the production team even went to the length of setting up a fake IMDb page and bio for Ebersdorf.

Swinton apparently spent four hours in makeup every day to become Klemperer, at one point donning a fake penis.

As for why Guadagnino asked Swinton to tackle the role of an old man, the director said the casting would ensure “there will always be this element of femininity at its core. Being a film about the fantastic, it was important that we did not play by the book.”

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Suspiria opens in UK cinemas on 16 November.

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