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Swinton: 'Only Lovers' Not Your Typical Vampire Film

26 Aug, 2014 By: Chris Tribbey

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — The word “vampire” never comes up once in director Jim Jarmusch’s drama Only Lovers Left Alive. And the word never came up once when actress Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton) discussed the film either.

It’s about a love affair between two opposites, “in it for the long haul, but completely different,” Swinton said. “That I find really enticing to show: two people really loving each other, but really not being like each other at all.”

Only Lovers — out now on disc and digital from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment — is about two lovers (who happen to be vampires) and cultural intellectuals, separated by the Atlantic (he’s a brooding, all-black-wearing musician in Detroit; she’s joyful, upbeat and passionate, living in Tangiers). She comes to him to get him out of an emotional malaise.

“We wanted [Only Lovers] to be about a marriage in which they talk,” Swinton said. “There’s this tradition of people coming together [in films] and then ‘The End,’ and we don’t see them actually living it out, living the ups and the downs, and talking it through, and showing the hurt. We spent a lot of time getting down that tone, that they were family.”

What makes Jarmusch’s story work is the disparity between Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Swinton), she said. He’s lost his lust for life. She’s a bundle of energy, despite holding a few millennia in years over Adam.

“He’s only 500 years old, and she’s 3,000 years old,” Swinton said. “She’s seen it all, and she knows it’s all survivable, if one keeps one’s eyes open, and takes it all in. She knows that as long as one keeps looking up, keeps things in perspective, survival is possible.

“She has this perspective. She doesn’t sweat the small, medium or the big stuff. She’s full of wonder, and she’s always looking up. That would be the prerogative of the people who’ve lived that length of time.”

Disc bonus features include deleted and extended scenes, a Yasmine Hamdan “Hal” music video, and the featurette “Traveling at Night With Jim Jarmusch,” following the director on set.

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