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Live, Tilda! Live! Swinton to Play Auntie Mame

Nicolas Genin/ Wikimedia Commons

The chameleonic thespian is set to take on the larger than life Mame Dennis, many a gay boy's dream aunt for the past 60 years.

Who says the world is shit these days? I mean, it is, but how's this for a blindingly bright spot?: the physical manifestation of flawless otherwise known as Tilda Swinton is getting ready to play one of the most fabulous fictional characters of the 20th century, Auntie Mame.

auntie mame gif

Rumors about Tilda taking on Mame have been kicked about for years but now it seems the project has got some legs, with Oscar-nominated Bridesmaids co-writer and Bad Moms star Annie Mumolo handling script duties.

Auntie Mame, by closet queen Patrick Dennis (nee Edward Everett Tanner III), became an immediate hit when it was published in 1955. Following the adventures, and often misadventures, of the eccentric Mame Dennis as she attempts to raise her nephew Patrick amid a backdrop of the Depression and a boringly conservative society, Auntie Mame was first adapted into a Broadway play in 1956 and then into a beloved, if a bit lengthy, classic film in 1958, for which Rosalind Russell was robbed of an Oscar.

auntie mame gif

Apparently Susan Hayward just had to Live! a little bit more.

Russell had also starred in the original Broadway play to the tune of a Tony nomination, but Mame made her way to the stage again, this time as a musical in 1966 starring the divine duo of Angela Lansbury and Bea Fucking Arthur. They both ran away with Tonys as Best Lead and Featured Actress in a Musical, respectively.

Arthur reprised the role of boozy bestie Vera Charles in the disastrous film adaptation, starring Lucille Ball as the titular Mame. While Ball was a gifted comedian, she was no singer, but thanks to the costumes, the thick layers of Vaseline on the camera lens, and the film's "we're doing our best here" attitude, it's become something of a camp classic.

Now, that drunken doyenne of high society looks to have yet another life, thanks to Tilda Swinton. A huge fan of the book, she asked Mumolo to read the 1955 novel to see if she'd be interested in writing "a modern-day adaptation."

"I said yes, because you say yes to Tilda Swinton when she asks if you want to do something," Mumolo, clearly a wise woman, told Vanity Fair.

"I read the book and it was one of the most fun reads I've ever had. It's totally different from what I had seen in the movie versions," Mumolo says. "We had meetings and then, as I got a little overwhelmed with a few other work things, I brought on a co-writer to work together on this, because it's a huge job and an adaptation. I brought on a friend of mine--Stan Chervin [the Oscar-nominated Moneyball co-screenwriter]."

Should Mumolo and Chervin stick closer to the source material, we could potentially have a new, bolder cinematic Mame for a new, boring generation that's desperately in need of some lessons in living a fabulous life. The Mame of the novel is not very matronly or mothering, but rather, she's kind of a bad bitch, who at one point is found sleeping with one of Patrick's college friends thus scandalizing the entire campus and morbidly embarrassing her nephew.


Mumolo and Chervin will get back to work on their Auntie Mame adaptation with Swinton slated to star once she finishes wrapping press for Bad Moms.

"I'm really excited about it," Mumolo says. "You're always feeling you have to prove yourself, and then once you do that, you're onto the next thing and you feel like you have to prove yourself again."

Frankly, Annie, you had me at Tilda. I've already scheduled an Uber XL so I can load it up with a shit ton of Oscars to throw in Swinton's goddamn face.

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