WCW: Tilda Swinton


Iconoclastic and risk-taking, Tilda Swinton uses her subtle acting skills and striking looks in a unique range of roles, which, luckily for us, includes a select number of historical costume movies.


Lena in Caravaggio (1986)

Caravaggio (1986)

As the artists girlfriend / model, with costumes by Sandy Powell. Not a bad way to start your career!

Caravaggio (1986)


Orlando in Orlando (1992)


Where we first fell in love with Tilda Swinton. All cross-dressing and poetic. Oh, and more Sandy Powell costumes.

1992 Orlando 1992 Orlando
Tilda Swinton in "Orlando"

Taking a turn through the centuries.



Lady Ottoline Morrell in Wittgenstein (1993)

Wittgenstein (1993)

A little-seen film about an early 20th-century Cambridge professor and his circle. Swinton plays a friend who was a famous literary hostess.


Ada Augusta Byron King, Countess of Lovelace in Conceiving Ada (1997)

Conceiving Ada (1997)

People rightly complain that there are no films about Ada Lovelace. This is the closest around, and it’s a sort of sci-fi tale where a modern researcher connects with Ada through computers and the Babbage machine.

Conceiving Ada (1997)

I saw this at a film festival and wished the script had been sold to a major studio for the polish it deserved. Intriguing concept and Swinton’s performance was excellent, but otherwise low production values.


Elizabeth Abbott in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Aside from the very twee premise, Swinton gets to look super glam during World War II while having an affair with Brad Pitt.


Madame D. in The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Talk about losing yourself in a role — Tilda Swinton does what it takes to make the film WERK.


Thora Thacker / Thessaly Thacker in Hail, Caesar! (2016)

Hail, Caesar! (2016)

Going ’40s glam as twin gossip columnists.

Hail, Caesar! (2016)

Identical outfits with tiny reversed details. So good!



What’s your favorite historical costume role of Tilda Swinton’s?

4 Responses

  1. Johnny

    I wish Tilda and Sandy Powell would reunite on a movie because their collaboration together is magic.

  2. Susan Pola

    Hands down it’s Orlando. The newest Thora/Thessaly looks interesting. But she’s also in Dr Strange.

  3. Lyn Robb

    I know you don’t mention Fantasy etc but I thought she was PERFECT as the White Witch in the Chronicles of Narnia films. And the costumes were amazing


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