“I was going through the airport security and I was searched by a male security guard. I’m very often referred to as “Sir” in elevators and such. I think it has to do with being this tall and not wearing much lipstick. I think people just can’t imagine I’d be a woman if I look like this.”
There are only a small handful of actors that compel me to watch a film just because they appear in it, but Katherine Mathilda Swinton Of Kimmerghame is certainly one of them. Swinton shifts effortlessly between ages, sexes, and aesthetics. Every performance has been a marvel, even playing a corpse in my favorite film of 2014, Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel.
She possesses a look and disposition that are rather unworldly, or if she is from Earth it must be that she is from another century. With her aquiline face, ghostly light blue eyes, haughty manner and uncommon self-assurance, she looks to me to have stepped out of a formal 19th century portrait of a noblewoman… or man. Indeed, Swinton’s famous family’s lineage can be traced back to the 9th Century. Her great-grandmother was a beautiful society lady whose portrait was painted by John Singer Sargent. Her father is Major General Sir John Swinton, a WW II hero and former head of the Queen Elizabeth II’s household staff. She was in the same class as Princess Diana at boarding school and, according to her, was expected to marry some duke. Her life turned out a little differently.
She lives in an actual castle with views of the Moray Firth in the small city Nairn in the North Highlands of Scotland.
Swinton claims that although she and her family live in a castle, she actually renounces consumerism and doesn’t even own a television.