Surprise, That Creepy Old Man in Suspiria Is Just Tilda Swinton


The cast and crew of the upcoming Suspiria remake has long been touting the “fresh face[d]” “first-time actor” Lutz Ebersdorf, an 82-year-old “newcomer” who plays Dr. Jozef Klemperer in the film. But it turns out that “fresh face” is just an old familiar face caked in makeup and prosthetics, because Tilda Swinton is Ebersdorf.

Indeed, back in August, director Luca Guadagnino told Deadline that the reason no one had ever heard of Ebersdorf prior to his casting in Suspiria was because he wanted Klemperer—a psychoanalyst who helps heroine Dakota Johnson navigate the nightmare unfolding in her Berlin dance school—to be portrayed by someone “who was born on screen with this movie.” But Guadagnino is a trickster, and in fact, per rumors, and as the New York Times reported on Wednesday, Ebersdorf is Swinton with worse skin. Swinton, who has two other roles in the film, confirmed as much to the New York Times, claiming that the casting is really a matter of semantics.

“The answer to the question to me, ‘Are you playing Dr. Klemperer in “Suspiria”?’ is always that Dr. Klemperer is played by Lutz Ebersdorf,” Swinton told me last week in an email. Yet there is a more specific question she has been waiting for someone to put to her, “and curiously, to date, nobody has thought of it.”
That query, if anyone had bothered to ask, is “Are you playing Lutz Ebersdorf?” And the answer, Swinton said, is “an unequivocal yes.”

Here’s Ebersdorf, for reference:

And this is Tilda Swinton:

Swinton apparently wore a fake penis and pair of balls to play Ebersdorf playing Klemperer, in addition to prosthetics attached to her jaw and neck. She also wrote up an IMDB page for Ebersdorf, and had everyone on set call her “Lutz” while she was in character.

Swinton and Guadagnino had hoped to keep the casting secret for eternity, but the sharp-eyed people of the Internet RUINED it. “Frankly, my long-held dream was that we would never have addressed this question at all,” Swinton said. “My original idea was that Lutz would die during the edit, and his ‘In Memoriam’ be the final credit in the film.”

I remain unconvinced that Tilda Swinton herself is real, and not a creation by an possibly extraterrestrial entity yet to be revealed, so.

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