2015's 'IT Girl'
Right now, you might ask ‘who?’ when you hear the name Alicia Vikander. But by the end of this year, she is going to be Hollywood’s new “IT girl” – enjoying worldwide A-list fame. And everyone is going to know exactly who she is.
With an astonishing eight, count them—eight films due for release this year—it’s frankly going to be impossible to avoid the stunning 26-year-old Swede who, in the flesh, is like a cross between Natalie Portman and a young Julie Christie.
She laughs at the attention coming her way in the next few months. “I worry people will be sick of my face after a while,” she laughs, petite and pretty in jeans and a white top. “They’ll think: ‘Oh no, not her again.’”
Previously attached to fellow attractive Swede, Alexander Skarsgard, and more recently snapped holding hands with Irish star, Michael Fassbender, while shooting in Sydney—the beauty is looking at an incredibly busy release schedule.
Vikander has been based in North London for the last four years, and by the end of 2015 she will have starred in [deep breath]: Seventh Son alongside Jeff Bridges and Game of Thrones hunk, Kit Harington; the artificial intelligence thriller, Ex Machina with Domhnall Gleeson (Unbroken); Tulip Fever alongside Christoph Waltz, Cara Delevingne and Unbroken’s lead Jack O’Connell; The Man from U.N.C.L.E with Henry Cavill and Hugh Grant; The Light Between Oceans with Fassbender and Rachel Weisz; The Danish Girl with Eddie Redmayne, and a film by director John Wells which is still untitled, in which she will co-star with Bradley Cooper and 50 Shades’ Jamie Dornan; and another stint with Harington in the long-awaited screen adaptation of Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth—a part Vikander fought hard for.
Relaxed, yet poised, the former ballerina talks about the busy year ahead, pressure as a Hollywood “IT girl” and those Fassbender rumors.
STRIPLV: 2015 is looking like the Year of Vikander.
VIKANDER: I like the sound of that. (laughs)
STRIPLV: It’s true. You have eight films out this year.
VIKANDER: I don’t know how it happened like that. Seriously, you work on a movie, then another, and you’ve no idea when they’re coming out normally, and then it just happens that they’re out in this glut. It’s fantastic.
STRIPLV: Man from U.N.C.L.E; Tulip Fever; The Light Between Oceans—and the list keeps going… Which are you most excited being release?
VIKANDER: [laughs] Most of them I haven’t seen. I’ve seen Testament of
Youth, and I’ve seen Ex-Machina, and that is about it. I’m still trying to catch up with Son of a Gun (which came out in December with Ewan McGregor), but I really haven’t had a chance because I’ve been working so much. I want to see it on the big screen, I don’t want a ‘little screener’ screen. So yeah, it’s great. I love that they’re all so different from each other. I don’t want to do the same thing and I am getting the opportunity to indulge that desire—to work with different directors, different actors. It’s been fantastic.
STRIPLV: What can we expect from Testament then? When did you first learn about Vera Brittain?
VIKANDER: I guess it’s not like many people growing up here. They read about her growing up here, but as a Swede, I didn’t. But three years ago, my agent told me about the book, about Testament of Youth. And he was like: “Well firstly, great book—and secondly, I hear they’re trying to make a film out of it now, and you have to go for it. This is you.” And as a Swede, you think: ‘Vera was so British and it’s such a British story—how would I suit the part at all?’ Anyway, as you know these indie films take quite a while to put together. But it sort of worked in my favor, because it meant I got the time to do my research and know what I was talking about. And about a year ago, I met the director, James Kent, and they said that they would let me come and join them on this journey. Wonderful part and amazing woman to play, I was dying for this role.
STRIPLV: So what research did you do then?
VIKANDER: Well, the book of course was the best place to start. And then the biggest help that I had when it came to preparation was when it came to the letters—the correspondence between her brother, her fiancé, and her dear friend. That was a direct insight too, into the young woman she was before and during the war. Because the book itself was written when she was a woman in her thirties, and you know, when you look back at an experience like that, things change—especially when you go through a trauma like that; especially after that. Emotionally, you become someone completely different.
STRIPLV: Do you think we’re now a pampered generation in comparison to those who had to deal with war?
VIKANDER: I want to hope that that’s the case. With technology and things happening out there, all over the world there are fights going on. We’re fighting in a different war now. I think the youth will always have that engine within them. That’s why I loved the book, because obviously, I haven’t been faced with war, but I feel the youth are so similar to people my age now, and that’s why you become so emotionally close to them—and being with them on this journey, being in the war and trauma and loss, being part of that, especially of the women left behind. And then Ex-Machina—this film couldn’t be more different.
STRIPLV: You go from wartime to artificial intelligence…
VIKANDER: At least I can’t be accused of remaining in period costume. Although it’s still a different time. I am artificial intelligence, as it were.
STRIPLV: How did they actually film that, because you’re half robot in the film?
VIKANDER: Effects and clever camera work, and lots and lots of takes. It was weird assuming and working the shapes and movements of a character of artificial intelligence. It took a lot of thought and practice, but it was a fascinating journey. And I loved the darkness and depth of the script.
STRIPLV: Director Alex Garland said your background as a ballerina helped you immensely in the role.
VIKANDER: It did, very much so—he’s right. I love to bring something new to everything I work on, but being able to have the freedom to come back to what I knew in this strange fresh way—it was wonderful to be able to fall back on that discipline. But aside from that, it was one of the best scripts I’d ever read and I’m just so grateful to be given the chance to work on this special film.
STRIPLV: Growing up in Sweden, it was looking like you were destined instead for a life in ballet.
VIKANDER: Yes, that was the plan. I trained with the Royal Ballet School in Gothenburg, but there was an accumulation of injuries that meant I couldn’t continue.
STRIPLV: Do you still dance now?
VIKANDER: Not very often.
STRIPLV: Ex-Machina is your second time working with Domhnall Gleeson, after Anna Karenina.
VIKANDER: We just get on so well, and I was delighted to work together again. He’s got this special light of spirit, yet strength and stoicism to his presence.
STRIPLV: You had a small role in Anna Karenina, but many say you overshadowed
Keira Knightley’s lead performance…
VIKANDER: That’s lovely to hear, but couldn’t be further from the truth. Anna was her film—she gave it her all. It was a striking performance. I love her work immensely.
STRIPLV: How does it feel, as the actress in demand? It’s a pretty privileged place to be…
VIKANDER: Well you know, for the last three years, I’ve been lucky enough to focus on my work and only a couple of the films have come out. So I don’t feel it yet. I know what it’s like in Sweden, about how the industry works, and maybe the Danish industry to a lesser extent after doing A Royal Affair. But you know, on the whole, it’s a concept very foreign to me. So I don’t know… Ask me in a few months. I feel quite safe now and ready for the films to get to the audience, but who knows? I do feel pretty equipped for it all. And you want as many people to come see your films, so I know it’s all part of it.
STRIPLV: How are you dealing with the glare into your personal life then? There’s much rumor of a passionate romance with Michael Fassbender…
VIKANDER: I know, that’s part of my job. I know that when I’ve actually… I’ve worked with so many good actresses and actors, and listening to them all handle it in that way and handle the private lives, and then use the public to hopefully get many people to your films.
STRIPLV: And is it true and lasting with Michael?
VIKANDER: (stares blankly with a slight smirk)
VIKANDER’s PUBLICIST: Thank you so much…
VIKANDER: Thank you…