Dakota Johnson completed 2 years of ballet training in preparation for her role in this film.
Jessica Harper, who played Suzy in the original Suspiria (1977), appears late in the film as Dr. Klemperer's wife Anke. In an interview with her and screenwriter David Kajganich at the film's Fantastic Fest premiere in Austin, TX, Kajganich revealed he and director Luca Guadagnino thought Anke would be the best character for Harper to play, Guadagnino contacted her and proposed the idea to her, which she immediately agreed to - and then she immediately contacted the Berlitz School to learn and practice German for her scenes, as she had lied to Guadagnino about speaking the language. For Harper, the hardest thing to do was get the dialect right while walking backward.
Tilda Swinton's performance as 'Dr. Josef Klemperer' came about when both Swinton and director Luca Guadagnino thought that in a movie centering on women, it felt right to have a woman also play the principle male character. During filming, only a few cast members and virtually none of the extras knew that it was really Swinton in heavy make-up. They purposely credited a fictitious German actor called 'Lutz Ebersdorf' as Klemperer to hide this fact. The ruse would have gone as far as stating that Ebersdorf had already passed away during the editing phase, which would have explained his absence at the movie's premiere, but Swinton and Guadagnino thought that this went a step too far. They did leave a clue in the name tying this alias to Swinton: 'Eber' meaning 'boar' or 'swine', and 'dorf' meaning 'town' in German. Therefore, Swine-town, or 'Swinton'.
Although rumors that the actor playing Dr. Josef Klemperer (credited as "Lutz Ebersdorf") was really Tilda Swinton in disguise had circulated since the movie's filming, it was not actually confirmed until Swinton and director Luca Guadagnino were interviewed by the New York Times in October 2018. In that interview, Swinton clarified her prior denials: "'The answer to the question to me, "Are you playing Dr. Klemperer in Suspiria?" is always that Dr. Klemperer is played by Lutz Ebersdorf,' Swinton told me last week in an email. Yet there is a more specific question she has been waiting for someone to put to her, 'and curiously, to date, nobody has thought of it.' That query, if anyone had bothered to ask, is 'Are you playing Lutz Ebersdorf?' And the answer, Swinton said, is 'an unequivocal yes.'" When asked why she played the double role, Swinton answered, "for the sheer sake of fun above all. As my grandmother would have it - a motto to live and die by - 'Dull Not To.'"
The music score is the debut score by Radiohead singer Thom Yorke, who succeeds Radiohead co-composers Jonny Greenwood and Phil Selway into film scoring. Greenwood is notable for scoring the films Paul Thomas Anderson and Lynne Ramsay. Selway scored Let Me Go (2017).
In an interview with Elle magazine, actress Dakota Johnson revealed the intensity of the shoot had..."fucked [her] up so much that [she] had to go to therapy."
Unlike the original film, which uses exaggerated colors, Guadagnino conceived Suspiria as "winterish" and bleak, absent of primary colors.
Luca Guadagnino began filming 4 months after finishing work on Call Me by Your Name (2017) in 2016.
David Kajganich wanted the dance to directly reflect women's movements and emotions, so the inspiration for the choreography came from female dancers Mary Wigman, Pina Bausch, and Sasha Waltz. Modern dance is notably much more integral to the plot of this remake than ballet was to its original version Suspiria (1977), despite both being set in dance academies.
At the beginning of the film, a sign on the left side of the train station where Suzy is walking reads "Suspiria".
Luca Guadagnino (who was originally attached to the project as a producer), was announced at the Sept. '15 Venice Film Festival to direct, and was planning to bring the entire cast of his film A Bigger Splash (2015) for Suspiria (2018), but only Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson returned for this movie.
In 2008, Natalie Portman was set to star in the film, with David Gordon Green as director.
At 2 hours and 32 minutes, this remake of Suspiria is nearly an hour longer than the original.
The film incorporates stylized dance sequences choreographed by Damien Jalet, which form part of its representation of witchcraft. Principal photography took place in late 2016 and early 2017 in Varese and Berlin. The score was composed by Radiohead singer Thom Yorke, who took inspiration from the krautrock created around the time of the film's setting.
A remake of Suspiria was announced in the early 2000s, after Guadagnino had acquired the option from the original film's writers, Argento and Daria Nicolodi. Guadagnino offered the project to director David Gordon Green, but it was canceled due to financing conflicts. In September 2015, Guadagnino confirmed his plans to direct, with the film described as an "homage" to the 1977 film rather than a direct remake. A new screenplay was drafted by Kajganich, who had written Guadagnino's previous project, A Bigger Splash (2015). Kajganich set the film during the German Autumn of 1977 to explore themes of generational guilt in Germany following World War II.
The first footage premiered at the 2018 CinemaCon presentation. It was said to be so 'intense and disturbing', that some audience members left, midway through.
Apart from the two detectives and a handful of minor roles, many without speaking lines, the entire cast of Suspiria (2018) is female; even Dr. Klemperer, who is credited as "Lutz Ebersdorf", is played by Tilda Swinton in heavy make-up. Given his comments that this interpretation's visual style is inspired by the films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, this could be seen as director Luca Guadagnino's tribute to Fassbinder's The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972), which was comprised of an entirely female ensemble. Also indicative of this Fassbinder tribute is the casting of Ingrid Caven as housemother Miss Vendegast. In the early 1970s, Caven was married to Fassbinder and appeared in many of his movies.
Posters of David Bowie can be seen in Sara's bedroom. Tilda Swinton appeared in David Bowie's "(The Stars) Are our tonight" video, appearing as David Bowie himself.
This film marked the fifth collaboration between director Luca Guadagnino and actress Tilda Swinton. The previous were The Protagonists (1999), Tilda Swinton: The Love Factory (2002), I Am Love (2009) and A Bigger Splash (2015).
Dakota Johnson said in the Autumn/Winter '15 issue of AnOther magazine that she was already deep in ballet training to prepare for the film. In November 2015, director Luca Guadagnino said in an interview with Italian website Daruma View, that Tilda Swinton would be in the movie along with Johnson, and filming would begin in 2016.
Director Luca Guadagnino enjoyed working with Vanda Capriolo on Call Me by Your Name (2017) so much, he immediately offered her a role in this film.
Principal photography began in Varese, Italy on October 31, 2016, and was completed in Berlin on March 10, 2017. Additional filming had taken place at the Palazzo Estense in December 2016. The Grand Hotel Campo dei Fiori in Varese served as the primary shooting location, serving as the Markos Dance Academy. Like its predecessor, Suspiria was shot on 35mm film stock.
Judi Dench was rumoured to play Madame Blanc, when David Gordon Green was to direct.
Suspiria premiered at the 75th Venice International Film Festival on September 1, 2018.
The song Patricia intermittently sings in Klemperer's office is "The Fairest of the Seasons" by Nico.
In order to help distinguish Suspiria (2018) from Suspiria (1977), director Luca Guadagnino chose not to use the vibrant color palette used in the original.
This movie marks the third horror-thriller film for Mia Goth after starring in The Secret of Marrowbone (2017) and A Cure for Wellness (2016).
When David Gordon Green was set to direct, Isabelle Fuhrman was announced to play Suzy Bannion, Isabelle Huppert as Madame Blanc and Janet McTeer as Miss Tanner. Michael Nyqvist and Antje Traue were also cast, but it is unknown whether they would play updates of original characters or entirely new ones. Prior to his death in 2017, Nyqvist lamented the failure to launch Gordon's version, being a fan of the original film and looking forward to being in the remake.
The infamous maggots scene from the original film was ultimately not recreated for this film. It was, however, referenced briefly in one of Susy's dreams where a few worms start to fall on her face.
At the end of the film a woman can be seen walking out of the front garden of Klemperer's former estate holding a book entitled "The Great Mother." The full title of the tome is "The Great Mother: An Analysis of the Archetype" written by Erich Neumann. According to the description, the book "explores the Great Mother as a primordial image of the human psyche." The book also describes how the "feminine" can be depicted as a goddess or a monster. All of these themes are explored in the film, especially towards the end during the ritual.
The casting of Tilda Swinton as Madame Blanc is quite interesting, since she has played another evil witch associated with the word 'White' which Blanc is a French translation of. That character is, of course, Jadis the White Witch of Narnia. Tilda Swinton portrayed Jadis in all three live-action Narnia productions with Walden Media.
The actress who plays Patricia Hingle is Chloe Grace Moretz, who has starred or acted in several notable horror film remakes during her career (The Eye, The Amityville Horror, Let Me In, Dark Shadows, and Carrie) as well as original horror films (Room 6 and Wicked Little Things). Much like her earlier works, Suspiria is a remake of a classic horror film.