Although speculation recently surfaced that Lutz Ebersdorf, a previously unknown German actor who plays the elderly Dr. Jozef Klemperer in the movie, was actually Swinton in heavy prosthetic makeup, director Luca Guadagnino dismissed the idea in a new interview with the Hollywood Reporter:
"No, no. It’s Lutz Ebersdorf. There was all this talk about Tilda playing the role and it came out of nowhere and I don’t know why."
The 82-year-old Ebersdorf only has Suspiria listed on his IMDB page, which added fuel to the rumors that Swinton was secretly playing the part. But Guadagnino explained that too:
"I always like to cast people that are not necessarily actors. If you think of (his 2017 film) Call Me by Your Name, I asked this lady that I saw bicycling in the countryside, Vanda Capriolo, to play Mafalda, and now she plays a role in Suspiria. I like to think out of the box."
Swinton does play a major role already in the movie — she's the head of a Berlin dance academy that is a front for a coven of witches — and if you thought the latest Suspiria trailer was frightening, Guadagnino says you ain't seen nothing yet:
"I hope that the movie comes across as a relentless experience that’s going to go deep into your skin all the way down into your spine. I want the movie to perform as the most disturbing experience you can have. The movie is about being immersed in a world of turmoil and uncompromising darkness."
Those words should be music to the ears of fans of the original 1977 film, which is considered one of the great European horror movies of all time and something that — because director Dario Argento created such a uniquely stylized experience — seemed beyond the reach of any conventional remake.
But based on what we've seen so far, Guadagnino has done what was once thought impossible: turn a movie that many once regarded with skepticism into one of the most eagerly awaited genre movies of 2018. And he was apparently the right person for the job, since the original has obsessed him for decades:
"I was so terrified, but as always with something that terrifies you, I was completely pulled in. I think the process of how that movie influenced my psyche probably has yet to stop, which is something that happens often when you bump into a serious work of art like Suspiria. I think the movie I made, in a way, [represents] some of the layers of [my] upbringing, watching the movie for the first time and thinking of it and being obsessed by it."
Guadagnino added that he's friends with Argento and has shown the 77-year-old horror legend the new Suspiria, saying:
"We had a dinner in which he said to me, 'You don’t need any blessing. You need to just go and do your movie.' He was very generous. He has seen the movie, but it’s not for me to relay his reaction. I can only say to you that after he saw it he called me, and it was a great call."
Suspiria, which also stars Dakota Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz and original Suspiria lead Jessica Harper, premieres at the Venice Film Festival next Saturday (Sept. 1) and opens in the U.S. on Oct. 26.