There’s perfect casting and then there’s the sublime synchronicity of “Only Lovers Left Alive,” a Jim Jarmusch film starring Tilda Swinton as a vampire.
The film is Swinton’s third collaboration with Jarmusch — a master of cool, moody cinema — and they couldn’t be more perfectly aligned.
It’s an ethereal romance in which Swinton’s Eve and Tom Hiddleston’s undead Adam shack up together in a lonely home on an abandoned Detroit street.
amNewYork spoke with Swinton, the iconoclastic 53-year-old Oscar winner who last year slept in a box at MoMA for an art project, about the film and more.
What keeps bringing you back to Jim Jarmusch?
What keeps me back in the first instance is, he is my friend now. I’m a sucker for working with my friends. It’s sort of the great delight of my life, making work with my friends. I love it. And I’m also a mega-fan of him and was before I met him for years.
How was this film different?
This is a different project for me simply because, frankly because he wrote it with me in mind at the very beginning. So it wasn’t a question of me fitting myself into something in an exterior way. It was something very natural that we spun up over these eight years in conversation, around something, an energy, that’s quite close to me. So it felt like a warm bath, really.
The movie subverts classic vampire tropes.
One of the things I really love is that by very virtue of the fact that they are extracted from human society, vampires are outsiders. But one of the things, particularly in the portrait of Eve, one of the things that’s quite radical is the idea of a vampire who is compassionate about human beings.
You seem to have a sixth sense for interesting projects.
Of course, what are the odds of that being the case in the sense of I’m making work that interests me? There’s no reason why it should interest anybody else. … I have a very low pain threshold and I’m bored quite easily, so I try not to bore myself.