Tilda Swinton is over COVID safety protocols on film sets: 'I'm not wearing a mask'

Tilda Swinton is done with COVID safety measures on film sets, even if Hollywood isn't.

The actress, who is preparing to shoot a new movie, announced that she was defying its mask protocols during her keynote address at South by Southwest on Monday.

"I'm actually just about to start shooting a picture in Ireland. And I was told, full disclosure, and I'm sure this is being recorded — people in Ireland might hear it — to wear a mask at all times," she said. "I'm not wearing a mask because I'm super healthy and I've had COVID so many times and I'm so full of antibodies … and I have faith."

Actress/Co-Produer Tilda Swinton attends "Okja" New York Premiere at AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 on June 8, 2017 in New York City
Actress/Co-Produer Tilda Swinton attends "Okja" New York Premiere at AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 on June 8, 2017 in New York City

Jason Kempin/Getty Images Tilda Swinton

She told the audience that it was "very nice to see your faces unmasked" at the event before going on to discuss the impact that COVID had on the film industry, including her concern that audiences would not return to theaters.

"Then this magical thing happened," she said. "You asked anybody, not just cine-nerds like us, what they really missed during the pandemic and they said the same things. They said friends, family, live music, cinema. Those were the only things people missed."

"We've had different challenges in the last few years particularly, and some of them are lingering around people's belief in sitting in big spaces," she said earlier in the conversation. "Look at you, I bet you none of you are wearing masks, as well. I mean, who knew that was gonna be possible?"

Although, she joked, "I mean in Texas, did people wear masks? I have to ask." Her comment was met with laughs from the audience.

Outside of the film industry, COVID also had a personal impact on Swinton's life too. The actress revealed in a 2022 interview with The Guardian that she was, at the time, still recovering from symptoms of Long COVID after the disease left her bedridden for three weeks in August 2021.

"I was coughing like an old gentleman who smoked a pipe for 70 years, and had nasty vertigo," she told the outlet. "I got off relatively lightly, but the worst thing is how it affected my brain." Swinton explained that she was still finding it difficult to "remember my lines" and was "still forgetting things" during the interview.

The Problemista star joins a host of fellow celebrities who have denounced the need for COVID safety protocols on set in recent weeks. Woody Harrelson, a self-described "anarchist," said last month that he believed that no one should "have the right to demand that you're forced to do the testing, forced to wear the mask, and forced to get vaccinated," adding, "Let's be done with this nonsense."

Tim Robbins later voiced his own support for Harrelson's comments, tweeting that he also believed it was "time to end this charade" surrounding COVID-19 protocols on set.

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