Tilda Swinton is over the pandemic and she doesn’t care who knows.
She opened her keynote performance at South by Southwest by sharing her joy that the pandemic had gotten to the point where spectators at the event no longer had to wear masks.
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Later in the conversation, Swinton said, “I’m about to take a picture in Ireland, and I was told to always wear a mask, and I don’t.”
“I’m sure this will be recorded,” she noted, before saying she is “very healthy” after going through multiple COVID-19 infections.
Interestingly, Swinton spoke to W Magazine in 2022 about the severity of one of her infections and the long-term COVID symptoms she continued to endure, including memory problems.
Swinton isn’t the only high-profile actor to recently disagree with established COVID protocols. Fran Drescher spoke Variety about her stance against vaccine mandates, and Woody Harrelson has spoken out against all COVID-related rules in Hollywood.
Swinton was at SXSW supporting “Problemista,” in which she stars alongside writer-director Julio Torres. The A24 film, which premieres March 13, follows Alejandro (Torres), an aspiring toy designer from El Salvador who struggles to bring his unusual ideas to life in New York City. As time runs out on his work visa, a job as an assistant to an erratic art world outcast (Swinton) becomes his only hope of staying in the country and fulfilling his dream.
“I love him. I’ve always loved him,” Swinton said of Torres. “It’s so exciting to call him Comrade. He’s next level. Now he’s a filmmaker, and that’s very good for us all who are interested in film.”
However, something that worries Swinton in the film industry is an attitude of self-centeredness.
“There is a belief that when you make a movie or write a story, all the focus is on you as an individual. The spotlight is on you,” she said. “One thing I can attest to, which I’m actually a real poster child of, is staying collective. You need not become separated from your kinsmen and your herd.”
This problem is unique to younger people, according to Swinton.
“There’s such a new virus in the air about being an individual that people of our generation frankly didn’t have to deal with because there was more respect and investment in collective action. But now I feel pressure is being put on visual artists to cut ties, grow big balls and be a narcissist. And that can put a lot of people off.”
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