When not busy gracefully managing to enchant the world with her potent mix of eccentricity and magnetic screen presence, actress Tilda Swinton is always ready to dish some home truths. And the most recent figure to come into her crosshairs is author JK Rowling for her beloved boy wizard creation, Harry Potter.
Having just starred in Marvel’s Dr Strange, where she played an immortal magical instructor who believes more in an immersive learning environment than the particularly pedagogical styles of the Hogwarts staff, Swinton has no qualms about the stories featuring wizards, witches, nor even Weasleys. Instead the Oscar-winner and celebrated oddball criticised the series of books and films surrounding the bestselling literary character, which she claims falsely projects an image of what it is like to go to boarding school.
“I think [boarding schools] are a very cruel setting in which to grow up and I don’t feel children benefit from that type of education,” Swinton, who attending a British public school as a child, told The Scots Magazine. “Children need their parents. That’s why I dislike films like Harry Potter, which tend to romanticise such places.”
Swinton attended the West Heath Girls’ School in Kent, where she was a schoolmate of Diana, Princess of Wales in the 1970s. As well as her work as an actress, she also currently runs the Drumduan Upper School, a liberal independent school in her adopted home of Scotland, which, reports The Daily Mail, “has no tests or exams and students spend their days building boats and planting trees rather than sitting behind desks.”
Swinton turned down the opportunity to star in the Harry Potter franchise, having been offered the role of Professor Sybil Trelawney. The role would later go to Emma Thompson, who played the prognosticating professor in three films in the series.