Swinton chooses the people first, not the projects, and her relationship with Guadagnino – with whom she formed the production company Crazy Crazy Crazy Normal Normal Normal in 2017 – is clearly an inspiring meeting of minds. She first came across him when, as an unknown Italian director, he pursued her via her agent in 1994. He then ran into her in Rome later that same year and Suspiria is the latest result of their ongoing conversation – a film about which they have been talking, both confirm, for almost 25 years.
This film was written for Swinton – and for her co-star Dakota Johnson – the director says, and it’s difficult to imagine anyone else stepping into the role of Madame Blanc, a tormented choreographer and dancer who has, effectively, sold her soul for her art. There is a dignity to Swinton’s performance in the film, and a fragility that is immensely moving. That Guadagnino loves her is evident as the camera studies her every move.