Tilda Swinton on fame, femininity, ‘Grand Budapest’ and vampires of ‘Only Lovers’

AUSTIN – “I dance as much as I can,” said Tilda Swinton during our interview. This was fresh off of Jim Jarmusch's “Only Lovers Left Alive” playing at SXSW, one of two films in which the actress appears at the festival. The other is “Grand Budapest Hotel,” directed by Wes Anderson, which Swinto describes as “enchanting,” a flick you'd give up a Saturday to get snuggly and watch from your couch.

“Enchanting” is a good word to describe the English actress, who described the varied ways she enjoys the roles she plays on film and in life. For “Only Lovers,” she played opposite of Tom Hiddleston — “play” being the operative.

“We were friends of friends, inclined to like each other from the start, and we did,” Swinton said of Hiddleston, whose moody musician character Adam is a her husband and true love in the vampire tale. Aside from “digging each other,” the two really like each other, which meant for some good banter. “We did what we do but with bigger wigs.”

Swinton and Hiddleston's characters as vampires also meant they stayed out of the public eye and away from fame, despite what their talents could push them toward; she said “the idea of fame being the worst thing to happen to you” is one that's dear to her heart. “There's a lot to be said for that, to be traceless,” she explained. Though I argued she holds some position of fame, Swinton countered “I'm not famous at all.”

“I'll go home to north of Scotland. Ain't no cameras there,” she said. “I'm not really famous in a way in which I'd not like to be.”

Watch the full interview with Swinton from SXSW above, on how she lives “in a permanent creative rut,” Jarmusch's band Squirrel, choosing good roles regardless of gender and femininity, and when it's a good time to get your own castle.