As recently as Tuesday, press releases about the remake of Suspiria listed a curious name among the cast: Lutz Ebersdorf, an unknown actor who was supposedly an expert in psychoanalysis and co-founder of an experimental theatre group. But plenty of folks (including ScreenCrush’s Oliver Whitney) noted that Mr. Ebersdorf bore an unmistakable resemblance to another of the film’s stars, Tilda Swinton, in old man makeup. Director Luca Guadagnino was insistent they were two different people, though, even giving an interview with Yahoo! where he called such allegations “fake news.” “They made a picture of my actor Lutz Ebersdorf,” Guadagnino said, “and they claimed it was Tilda in makeup.”

Fast-forward a few months, to when Suspiria is about to open in theaters. Lutz Ebersdorf is nowhere on the publicity trail for the film — and it’s probably advantageous for Swinton for awards campaigning purposes to reveal she plays multiple roles in the film, including convincingly disguising herself as a man. So guess what? You’ll never believe it! Now, Guadagnino is singing a different tune, admitting to The New York Times that Ebersdorf was Swinton all along.

The collaborators explained that casting “Swinton in the film’s main male role would ensure that ‘there will always be this element of femininity” at the core of Suspiria, which in their conception is entirely about “female identity.” Also, Swinton said, it would be “dull not to” do something that fun and sneaky.

Although the role didn’t require it, Swinton requested her makeup artist, Mark Coulier, make her something that would really get into the headspace of an old man: A set of old man genitals to wear on the set. Here’s Coulier on this unique prop:

She did have us make a penis and balls. She had this nice, weighty set of genitalia so that she could feel it dangling between her legs, and she managed to get it out on set on a couple of occasions.

Tilda Swinton: The ultimate Method actor.

I’m still not to keen on the whole lying to journalists aspect of all this; just admit what you did. We want to marvel at Tilda Swinton’s acting prowess! We don’t want to watch the movie starring at “Lutz” trying to see Tilda Swinton underneath. Nonetheless, it is an impressive transformation. I dare say it sounds like Swinton gives a very ballsy performance.

Suspiria opens in New York and Los Angeles on October 26, and expands wider on November 2.

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