‘I was told to wear a mask at all times and I’m not’

Tilda Swinton is over the pandemic and she doesn’t care who knows it.

She opened her headline performance at South by Southwest by sharing her joy that the pandemic had reached a point where audience members at the event were no longer required to wear masks.

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Later in the conversation, Swinton said: “I’m about to shoot a picture in Ireland and I was told I always have to wear a mask and I’m not.”

“I’m sure this will be recorded,” she noted, before saying she’s “very healthy” after going through several COVID-19 infections.

Interestingly, in 2022, Swinton spoke to W Magazine about the severity of one of her infections and the lengthy COVID symptoms she continued to endure, including struggles with memory.

Swinton isn’t the only high-profile actor to disagree with the COVID protocols put in place recently. Fran Drescher spoke with Variety about her stance against vaccine mandates, and Woody Harrelson has come out against all COVID-related regulations in Hollywood.

Swinton was at SXSW in support of “Problemista,” in which she co-stars with writer-director Julio Torres. The A24 film premieres on March 13 and follows Alejandro (Torres), an aspiring toy designer from El Salvador who struggles to bring his unusual ideas to life in New York City. As his work visa expires, a job helping an art world outcast (Swinton) becomes his only hope of staying in the country and realizing his dream.

“I love him. I always have,” Swinton said of Torres. “It’s so exciting to call him buddy. He is next level. Now he is a filmmaker, and that is really good for all of us who are interested in films.”

Something that worries Swinton in the film industry, however, is an attitude of self-centeredness.

“There is a belief that when you make a film or write a story, all the focus is on you as an individual. The focus is on you,” she said. “One thing that I can confirm that I am indeed a real poster child for is staying collective. You don’t need to be separated from your kin and your pack.”

This problem is unique to younger people, according to Swinton.

“There’s this new virus in the air about being an individual that people in our generation honestly didn’t have to deal with because there was more respect for and investment in collective action. But now I feel like there’s pressure on fine artists to cut ribbons, grow big balls and be a narcissist. And that can put a lot of people off.”

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