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How the death of Tilda Swinton's mother bled into movie The Eternal Daughter

"It is a way, of course, of keeping them with us."

TILDA SWINTON in THE ETERNAL DAUGHTER (2022), directed by JOANNA HOGG. Credit: BBC FILMS / Album
Tilda Swinton as Julie Hart in last year's The Eternal Daughter. (BBC Films)

Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton channelled a bit of her late mother Judith Balfour in last year's gothic drama The Eternal Daughter.

Directed by Joanna Hogg, the movie features Swinton in a dual role - not for the first time either, Suspiria fans will know - as daughter Julie and mother Rosalind Hart, who stay at a ghoulish hotel.

In conversation with The Observer, the star revealed that her elderly character "wears a wardrobe made up very largely of my own mother's clothes – her shoes, her jewellery".

Read more: Tilda Swinton says Doctor Strange casting debate was 'hot, sticky, gnarly moment'

"I have a particular tender affection in my memory of wearing these things," said Swinton, and this was a way of sustaining a sense of closeness to Balfour, who sadly passed away in 2012.

Opening up on this great loss, she then recalled: "I was looking after her all through and afterwards and was struck by how I took on her speech patterns and would sometimes wear her things – cardigans or shoes.

Joanna Hogg and Tilda Swinton attend Special Presentation of 'The Eternal Daughter' at the Royal Festival Hall during the 66th BFI London Film Festiva
Swinton stood next to Joanna Hogg at the 66th BFI London Film Festival. (Getty)

"There was a period of time, before she actually left and after she'd gone, when I was enmeshed in a very specific and material way.

"I'd find myself using language she'd have used and would feel the frisson of a thrill, the opportunity to use a particular turn of phrase... it is a way, of course, of keeping them with us."

So, if you microscopically analyse The Eternal Daughter, you may in fact be witnessing a recital of Balfour on screen.

Read more: Asteroid City review: Wes Anderson's whimsical tale is more style than plot

Meanwhile, Swinton appears in Netflix's brand-new assassin thriller The Killer, which is the latest directorial effort from Gone Girl's David Fincher and co-stars Michael Fassbender.

Watch: British actor Tilda Swinton on playing two roles in The Eternal Daughter