One of the boldest and most versatile actresses to have graced Hollywood screens, Tilda Swinton is a force to be reckoned with. There is nothing that she cannot do. From playing androgynous characters to scheming villains, she adds authenticity to her roles by completely metamorphosing into her character.
It becomes hard to dissociate her from the character that she plays. Keeping in mind the type of role she is required to play, Swinton adjusts her mannerism and persona and manages to deliver compelling performances every single time, irrespective of her screen-time.
A risk-taker, Swinton has never backed down from any challenge. From playing an androgynous character in Orlando to repeatedly taking up the role of atrocious villains in several films, she has never shied away from completely disguising herself to fit into her character, much like a chameleon. Cool and badass, she loves defying conventions as she strolls into red carpet events in pyjamas or replies to emails with an automated “I am unable to read your message”.
Swinton has transcended categorisation with effortless swagger and absolute brilliance and has won various awards and accolades, including an Academy Award, a BAFTA and more, besides several other nominations. Her exceptional contribution to cinema and striking performances have enriched her legacy, cementing her position as one of the greatest actresses to have been a part of Hollywood.
On her 61st birthday, we, at Best of Netflix, pay tribute to her by taking a look at her three most villainous roles in films streaming on Netflix:
Tilda Swinton’s 3 best villainous roles
Minister Mason – Snowpiercer
Bong Joon-ho’s 2013 film sees a post-apocalyptic world plagued by raging economic differences, class conflict and rebellion that unleashes lunacy and frenzy. With an ominous foreboding, the film is an audacious and stunning commentary on survival in a world where hunger and thirst trigger madness and chaos on a terrifying note within a circumnavigational train that segregates the people in separate compartments based on their economic prowess.
With her huge dentures and glasses, Swinton looks as formidable and deranged as ever as the person in charge of building the new society. Although her character Minister Mason was initially deemed to be male, her incredible acting chops made the writer retain the character tropes while starring her in this sinister role. Ruthless and vile, she is determined to uphold the status quo. With the criminal sexuality of female villains, her character possessed the terrifying bravado of male villains that made her a dangerous figure.
Lucy Mirando – Okja
Bong Joon-ho’s poignant commentary on environmental degradation, capitalism, commercial hybridisation, dwindling morality and incessant greed is well-portrayed in this heart-warming 2017 film. It revolves around a South Korean girl named Mija whose idyllic life with her beloved eponymous super pig is disrupted when Okja is kidnapped to produce superior quality meat. In the pursuit of truth and to save her best friend, Mija embarks on a harrowing quest that takes her to the cruel underbelly of New York.
With a general air of despair and the grotesque portrayal of human nature, Joon-ho casts Swinton in the rightful role of Lucy Mirando, the selfish and greedy CEO who plans to exploit super pigs to benefit her company. Hungry for power and money, Swinton looks conniving in her platinum blonde wig. As an epitome of the consumerist business world, she is vicious, cold-hearted and murderous, ready to take on anybody who might try and hinder her from making profits.
The White Witch – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Based on C.S. Lewis’ eponymous novel in the fantasy chronology, the film follows the journey of the four Pevensie children who are sent away from London at the brink of the Second World War to live in the countryside. There, they discover a magical wardrobe that transports them to the mystical and mythical realm of Narnia that abounds in talking beavers, foxes, centaurs and other supernatural creatures, including a benevolent lion named Aslan. The children must help him, and the rest of Narnia defeat the evil White Witch who has sinister intentions.
The film sees good triumph over evil, a classic tale of ego, rivalry, pride, love and family. Swinton as Jadis, the White Witch, is seductive, vile and cunning. She is the terrifying scheming antagonist who is heartless as she plunges the sword into Aslan’s heart. With a terrifying makeup that makes her look like the evil goddess of war, it has become one of the most defining and terrifying roles of her career. Swinton’s sharp and commanding voice has made many children spend sleepless nights in fear of being frozen by the White Witch’s sceptre.