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22nd of October 2018

United Kingdom



Tilda Swinton reveals SHE was the ‘82-year-old man’ in her new movie

Hollywood A-Lister comes clean to reveal SHE played her '82-year-old male co-star' - using four hours of make-up (including fitting a prosthetic manhood) and a false biography... but can YOU guess who it is?The British actress is starring in horror remake Suspiria with Lutz EbersdorfPictures showed resemblance between her and first-time actor EbersdorfThe director dismissed suggestions they were the same person as 'fake news' Tilda Swinton has now come clean and revealed she used prosthetics and make-up to appear as an old man

By Joe Middleton For Mailonline

Published: 20:01 EDT, 11 October 2018 | Updated: 06:25 EDT, 12 October 2018

When pictures of first-time actor Lutz Ebersdorf first emerged, snatched from the set of a new Hollywood movie, they sent gossips into a frenzy.

The 82-year-old, they said, bore a striking resemblance to the film's star. Could Tinseltown fakery be afoot?

But that star, decidedly female and not octogenarian, denied she had anything to do with it.

The film's director, Luca Guadagnino, dismissed claims as 'fake news'. And when a page for Mr Ebersdorf appeared on the Internet Movie Database, the debate was seemingly put to bed.

And so it remained until today, when the actress involved, British star Tilda Swinton, admitted she had donned the disguise to play her own co-star for new horror film Suspiria.

Ms Swinton, 57, told how she went through hours of often invasive prosthetic-fitting - including donning a fake penis - to turn into Mr Ebersdorf in order to then play the character of Dr Josef Klemperer in the film.  

Tilda Swinton has now revealed she underwent four hours in make-up every day to transform into the character of Dr Josef Klemperer Tilda Swinton has now revealed she underwent four hours in make-up every day to transform into the character of Dr Josef Klemperer

Tilda Swinton has now revealed she underwent four hours in make-up every day to transform into the character of Dr Josef Klemperer

Guadagnino, however, insists Swinton playing the role of a male (pictured) was essential because the film is about female identity Guadagnino, however, insists Swinton playing the role of a male (pictured) was essential because the film is about female identity

Suspiria director Luca Guadagnino insists Swinton (right) playing the role of a male (left) was essential because the film is about female identity

Asked why she was posing as Ebersdorf, Swinton told The New York Times: 'Undeniably, I would have to say, for the sheer sake of fun above all.

'As my grandmother would have it - a motto to live and die by - Dull Not To.'

Guadagnino, however, insists Swinton playing the role of a male was essential because the film is about female identity.

Photos surfaced in February purporting to show actress Tilda Swinton in prosthetics and makeup as an elderly man on the film's set.

The bio on IMdB claims Ebersdorf 'was born on February 15th, 1936 in Munich, Germany' The bio on IMdB claims Ebersdorf 'was born on February 15th, 1936 in Munich, Germany'

The bio on IMdB claims Ebersdorf 'was born on February 15th, 1936 in Munich, Germany'

Deepening the mystery, a poster for Suspiria showed the elderly man wearing glasses and smoking a pipe with the legend at the top announcing: 'Lutz Ebersdorf is Dr. Klemperer.' 

The previously unknown actor had a listing on film website IMDb but his only credit is Suspiria.

According to the bio posted on the site, Ebersdorf 'was born on February 15th, 1936 in Munich, Germany.'

'In 1938, when Ebersdorf was just two, his family fled Nazi Germany: first for Geneva in Switzerland, and then to London. Spending most of his youth in Camberwell, London, Lutz returned to Munich in 1954, where he studied Philosophy, taking a particular interest in Gestalt psychology and Psychodrama,' the bio adds. 

The 82-year-old is credited with forming an experimental theatre group Piefke Versus - although a Google search fails to find any reference to the group.

He went on to earn a PhD in Kelinian psychoanalysis, specializing in mother-daughter relationships, the bio purports.

And from there, onto Hollywood, where he stars alongside household names including Dakota Johnson and Chloe Grace Moretz in the horror remake.

Suspiria - a remake of Dario Argento's 1977 original - centres on Johnson's character, a young dancer who enrols in an all-female dance academy in Berlin, only to discover it is run by a coven of witches.

Guadagnino said Swinton's casting as a man would ensure 'there will always be this element of femininity at its core. Being a film about the fantastic, it was important that we did not play by the book'.

Photos surfaced in February purporting to show actress Tilda Swinton in prosthetics and makeup as an elderly man on the film's set Photos surfaced in February purporting to show actress Tilda Swinton in prosthetics and makeup as an elderly man on the film's set

Photos surfaced in February purporting to show actress Tilda Swinton in prosthetics and makeup as an elderly man on the film's set

Oscar-winning make-up artist Mark Coulier was hired to transform Swinton. He used prosthetics to thicken her neck and built out her jaw to make it look more masculine.

To add another layer to the ruse, Swinton then created an online profile for Ebersdorf on movie database website IMDb, the site now redirects to Swinton's profile.

The actress admits to regretting how the secret got out and had revealed she had one final trick planned.

She told The New York Times: 'Frankly, my long-held dream was that we would never have addressed this question at all. 

'My original idea was that Lutz would die during the edit, and his 'In Memoriam' be the final credit in the film.'

Suspiria will be released in the UK on November 16.

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