Over the course of two weeks I created and shot a dance sequence for Tilda Swinton on the movie Technolust. I’d never experienced anyone with such a combination of tenacity and grace. Through the entire shoot, she worked tirelessly – learning and performing complex choreographic sequences, all the while effortlessly entertaining the cast and crew like a countess at an English garden party. She was effervescent. Her smile, her laugh, her elegant countenance oversaw the entire proceeding. When we weren’t rehearsing or on set shooting, she and I took long walks together, ate meals, went for drinks, discussed films. We spent every waking hour in each other’s company. She lavished attention on me………how clever my drawings were! how insightful my thoughts! “Hallo Everyone!” she would loudly declaim on set – “Charlie has just said the most remarkable thing!” ………..I was special to her, a friend, a collaborator, a confident. I was suffused with light in her presence. I was transfigured.
When the shoot wrapped, we warmly embraced and as she said goodbye handed me a note with her contact information. “Shall we meet in Los Angeles Charlie darling? I’ll be there for a month.”……….then breathlessly…….”Why don’t you come to my place in Scotland? Let’s do a project there!” She clapped her hands in joy as she so often did, kissed me and got into her car.
I called a week later, then sent an email. I was coming to LA. Was she around? Could we get together?
There was no response. And then a second email and further silence.
I never heard from her again.
I’ve thought about this relationship many times and the subsequent weeks-long crash I experienced after hearing nothing from her.
I am all too familiar with the needy and wounded parts of myself that in misguided effort, go out into the world to find an audience and through their adulation, healing. I have worked hard to create a sustaining life for myself. I do not have many friends, but those I do have are real. There was no malfeasance in Tilda Swinton’s action. She didn’t cross personal or professional boundaries. Her power, her stardom and the attention she lavished on me were intoxicating. I lost myself. She was the sun, and I was the center of the world, or so I wanted to believe.