The new thriller A Bigger Splash isn’t a silent movie even though its leading lady, played by Tilda Swinton, hardly utters a word.
Swinton plays rock star Marianne Lane trying not to use her voice as she recuperates from throat surgery on an Italian island. The actress thinks going silent heightens the drama in the film because it had the power to provoke Lane’s ex-flame, portrayed by Ralph Fiennes, who’d come to stay.
She says: “You get the impression [they] had a very discursive, actively wordy, relationship in the past, [but] with her just not able to play ball it would ramp him up, he would over-rev, and the tension would just get more and more interesting.”
There’s quite a bit of nudity in A Bigger Splash. Does Swinton give any thought before she takes on a role, like this one, that required her to take off her clothes?
“What thought is there to be had,” she jests. To her it made total sense for her and others to be naked in some of the scenes in what is a poolside erotic thriller. “The nudity is part of the story,” says the actress. “That sensuality, that nudity, was a very important part of the texture.”
Swinton sees the film partly as a rock ‘n’ roll tale. In a way the movie’s protagonist, record producer Harry Hawkes, played by Fiennes, is very much part of that world. According to the actress: “The basic rule of rock ‘n’ roll is nobody gets old, and nobody dies—and Harry is still banging that drum.”
The film could also be called “Everyone Behaving Badly by the Pool,” because the four key characters in the movie all cross boundaries and flirt with danger—and as you might expect the consequences are dire. Watch our interview with Tilda Swinton below.