One of Tilda Swinton’s most interesting creative partnerships in Hollywood is her work with Joel and Ethan Coen. The actress first teamed up with the Coen Brothers in 2008 to release Burn After Reading, a dark spy comedy set in the Washington bureaucracy. In the film, Swinton portrays Katie Cox, soon-to-be ex-wife of CIA analyst Osbourne Cox.
Almost a decade later, in 2016, Swinton teamed up again with the Coen Brothers for their wacky Hollywood satire Hail, Cesar! This time around, Swinton got a chance to grow bigger than she did in Burn After Reading, in which she portrayed the dual roles of Thora and Thessa Thacker – gossip columnists who happen to be identical twins. In creating the character, Swinton wanted to do something akin to the kabuki theater and 1950s Hollywood actresses who were mocked.
Per The Guardian, she explained, “I felt like my role was to represent these 1950s American actresses who you can’t tell if they’re English or not. They have these weird accents: they might speak Americanized English, or they might have a British accent. Over-prepared and articulated, constantly ready for her close-up. It really felt like that period – it’s the style of the performance. That’s what appealed to me: It’s not exactly Kabuki, but it’s not far from it.