No one questioned why Tilda Swinton was chosen to give a keynote speech at this year’s SXSW. She’s one of the most respected actors in the entire world, and on top of that, Swinton always seems to have something interesting to say. And while most of her keynote went along just as expected, there’s one bit, particularly about COVID safety precautions on film sets, that is causing a stir.
Speaking at SXSW (via Variety), Tilda Swinton mentioned the fact that she’s excited the pandemic is coming to an end and everyone can get back to normal. She then went on to mention how she is about to shoot a new film and how she doesn’t agree with the COVID safety protocols that are still being implemented on sets. Basically, she hates wearing a mask.
“I’m about to shoot a picture in Ireland, and I was told to wear a mask at all times, and I’m not,” she said.
Swinton went on to admit that she knows “this is being recorded” but that she’s “very healthy,” even after multiple bouts with COVID herself. However, it should be noted that, in early 2022, Swinton spoke to The Guardian about having “long COVID” and how that made her life difficult while filming two movies, due to the lingering effects from the illness.
“I was coughing like an old gentleman who smoked a pipe for 70 years, and had nasty vertigo. I got off relatively lightly, but the worst thing is how it affected my brain,” she said, at the time. “I did two films that I had to learn a lot of text for. One was the Wes Anderson and he likes you to speak like a speeding train. I’m normally quite quick at studying, and picking stuff up, but this was like chewing a really big piece of gum. I couldn’t remember my lines.”
Obviously, the majority of people, from all over the world, are likely sick of wearing masks, especially for prolonged periods of time. But for many people, especially those with health risks that could be made way worse by COVID, masking is really crucial. And much like the COVID protocols on movie sets, there are plenty of regular folks who work jobs that still require the use of masks for long periods of time.
All that to say, Swinton is probably sick of wearing masks (a lot of people are too), but maybe it isn’t so great to openly admit that you’re going to break protocols because you don’t want to wear one.
Tilda Swinton’s new film, “Problemista,” is screening at this year’s SXSW.