We Need to Talk About Kevin Starring Tilda Swinton

World-premiering at the 2011 Cannes Film Fest, “We Need To Talk About Kevin” is an emotional thriller, directed by Lynne Ramsay (“Ratcatcher,” “Morvern Callar”) and starring Tilda Swinton in another bold performance.


Swinton plays Eva, a woman who puts her ambitions and career aside to give birth to Kevin.  The relationship between mother and son is difficult from the very first years.  When Kevin is 15, he does something irrational and unforgivable in the eyes of the entire community.  Eva grapples with her own feelings of grief and responsibility.  Did she ever love her son?  And how much of what Kevin did was her fault?


Lynne Ramsay first came to recognition with her short film Small Deaths, which was her graduation film at the National Film and Television School in England, and went on to win the Prix du Jury Prize at Cannes in 1996.  It was followed by Kill the Day (1996) and Gasman (1997), which were awarded the Jury Prizes at Clermont Ferrand and Cannes, respectively.  As a result, Ramsay quickly became one of the brightest new talents of British cinema.


Ramsay’s acclaimed debut feature, Ratcatcher (1999), is a darkly redemptive film set in ‘70s strike-bound Glasgow.  The film opened the Edinburgh Film Festival, and won its director the 2000 BAFTA Carl Foreman Award for a Best Newcomer in British film.  Ramsay’s follow-up film Morvern Callar (2002) – adapted from Alan Warner’s cult novel – is the story of a young supermarket worker (Samantha Morton) who discovers that her boyfriend has committed suicide, and the world that unfolds for her in the aftermath.


From Book to Screen

Swinton:  “This project came to me in the hands of my friend Lynne Ramsay.  Lynne and I have been talking about the project for the last four years, at least.”


Director Lynn Ramsey

Swinton:  “Lynne’s brilliant eye is beyond dispute: she is — also — one of the warmest, most focused, respectful, resourceful and delightful of directors alive.”


John C. Reilly as Franklin

 Swinton: “From very early on, John was the dream Franklin for both Lynne and I.  He came to it with such an eagerness, energy and courage in examining this material and playing this particular father.”


Ezra Miller as Kevin

Swinton: “Ezra was a gift to us.  He’s brought so much that one might not be able to expect from someone of his age.  Nothing needed to be explained to him, he understands this story innately.  He’s extremely bright and super easy.  We had a ball playing with him.”


The Story

Swinton: “This is a story in which a high school massacre occurs, without it being the main event.  In her novel, the inspiration for our film, Lionel Shriver directs our attention, rather, to the volcanic possibilities of disconnected parenting.  This was the lead we followed, in the development of the script and in placing the atmosphere of the film.”


The Production

Swinton:  “Cinematographer Seamus is someone I’ve known for over twenty years.  We first worked together with Derek Jarman, years ago, in England.  For us to work altogether is grace — not only are he, Lynne and I are all Scottish based filmmakers — we’re all good friends.  Working doesn’t get much better than that.”


About Tilda Swinton

Swinton began her career in the 1980s.  She performed in several of her friend and mentor Derek Jarman’s films, an innovative and sophisticated filmmaker whom she remained very close to until his death in 1994.  She was awarded the Coppa Volpi for Best Actress (1992) at the Venice Film Festival for her performance in Edward II (1991), and the following year achieved international recognition for her performance in Sally Potter’s Orlando (based on Virginia Woolf’s novel).  She has been involved in some of the major films from the contemporary world of cinema, working with Danny Boyle (The Beach), Tim Roth (The War Zone), Spike Jonze (Adaptation), Cameron Crowe (Vanilla Sky), Robert Lepage (Possible Worlds), Norman Jewison (The Statement), Francis Lawrence (Constantine), Joel and Ethan Coen (Burn After Reading), David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Bela Tarr (The Man from London), Andrew Adamson (The Chronicles of Narnia) and Jim Jarmusch (Broken Flowers, Limits of Control).

Swinton’s other recent credits include her acclaimed performance in Erick Zonca’s Julia, which she received a César Award nomination for Best Actress for her tour-de-force performance, and her Oscar-winning performance in Tony Gilroy’s Michael Clayton.  She was most recently seen on screen in Luca Guadagnino’s acclaimed film, I Am Love (Io Sono L’Amore), which she also produced.