Tilda Swinton returned to the SXSW Film & TV stage for the first time in nine years, and in it she shared profound ideas about ambition, about why she hesitates to call herself an “actor,” about the joy of returning to public places after the pandemic. But the real burning question of the afternoon, and the one that really got Swinton going, was a question about a viral video.
If you haven’t seen it, you’re in for a treat. Swinton last year went viral for a reaction of her fangirling to a barista’s latte art. She was astonished, and didn’t stop being astonished for a solid 30 minutes. Watch it below.
During her keynote panel on Monday in conversation with Sundance director Eugene Hernandez, Swinton was asked via an online audience question about her reaction to seeing her face in a foamy cup of coffee: “The purity of your joy and excitement was genuinely intoxicating. What was it about that moment,” she was asked.
“What’s not amazing about that thing? I mean, what have I missed, is everyone just very cool about that? It is amazing. Did you see it? How did he do it that guy? Do people just…We just do not do that in the Highlands,” Swinton said, still beaming. “I thought it was amazing. I still think it’s amazing, and I think it’s amazing that people thought me finding it amazing is amazing!”
But the latte art comment wasn’t the only moment where Swinton was having an absolute ball. She was asked how she’s evolved in the last nine years since she was last in conversation with Hernandez at SXSW, and in that time she’s seen her twin son and daughter blossom, leaving Swinton warm in knowing that if she were to “fall down a manhole today,” that she left two “completely self-sufficient” humans behind on the planet. And she didn’t hesitate in embarrassing them.
“My son is a props guy. He’s working on the Bob Marley biopic, he’s in Jamaica right now, and he sent me this fabulous photo on the top of a banana truck, and I felt so proud, he’s launched! Isn’t that great,” Swinton said proudly. “And my daughter, she is studying for her final, she’s just preparing for her dissertation. This is very embarrassing for them that I’m talking about them on this stage. But I’m going to go on, with twins, you do with one, you have to do with the other. But she’s doing her dissertation for psychology at Edinburgh. And she’s writing about beauty standards. She’s dope.”
Swinton is in town on behalf of “Problemista,” which premieres on Monday evening and is the latest project from “Los Espookys” co-creator Julio Torres. The film will be released by A24 later this year. She also gave an update on her next film “The End,” which is an apocalyptic musical from “The Act of Killing” director Joshua Oppenheimer. Swinton said she’ll be heading off to film the project shortly after the festival and even added that she’ll be singing in the film.
“That is tickling me,” Swinton said. “It’s not going to go anywhere, I’m not bringing out any albums. It is really good fun, and I love that.”
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