Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander made a name for herself in nuanced art films Ex Machina and The Danish Girl. Now she’s leaping into action (and putting her ballet training to use) as fierce treasure hunter Lara Croft in Tomb Raider.
If the world can be divided into two types of people—those who like to chat to the person sitting next to them on a plane and those who don’t—you could reasonably assume that Alicia Vikander might be among the latter. For one thing, she’s famous. In fact, this month the Academy Award-winning Swedish actress will make the leap to action star as Lara Croft, the heroine in the Tomb Raider reboot, a role played by Angelina Jolie back in 2001 and based on the wildly popular video game series. Vikander is also intensely private, with a knack for dodging even the most innocuous questions. Asked about the last time she broke a rule, for instance, she laughs at a memory, then shakes her head: “No, I don’t want to say that to you.”
Yet, as it turns out, the 29-year-old actress will not only engage her seatmates, she’ll also offer them gifts—or at least that’s what she did on a recent trip to Los Angeles from Lisbon, where she lives with husband Michael Fassbender. “I finished the book Homo Deus on the plane. It was fantastic, and I gave it to the guy next to me,” she says, referring to Yuval Noah Harari’s sequel to the intellectually digestible bestseller Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. “Hopefully, he’s read it by now.”
Today, wearing jeans and a black moto jacket, Vikander is sitting in a makeshift dressing room at a Hollywood studio, getting primped for a photo shoot. She’s doing publicity for Tomb Raider, which is why the enormous space is littered with Egyptian sarcophagi and other faux relics. It’s a change of pace for Vikander, who in 2016 won a best supporting actress Oscar for The Danish Girl, in which she gave such an eruptive performance as bohemian artist Gerda Wegener, the wife of one of the first men to undergo gender-confirmation surgery, that she practically stole the film from co-star Eddie Redmayne.
While Vikander is happy to go from serious drama to action adventure, she did have early concerns about originality. “When I got the phone call, I thought, ‘Oh, haven’t they done Tomb Raider?’” she recalls as a makeup artist dabs gingerly at her face. “Hearing that this was going to be something different attracted me to the part.”
Billed as an origin story and directed by fellow Scandinavian Roar Uthaug (who made the 2015 noirish disaster film The Wave), this installment aims to avoid the hot-girl-with-guns trope. “Lara Croft has been this sex symbol, but films from back then, oh, my God, the view they had of women and power is so different,” says Vikander. “She had to be brought into our time.” Whereas Jolie went for full-throttle butt-kicker with a sultry twist, Vikander will satisfy the modern demand for flawed superheroes. Armed with a modest hunting bow, she’s a more human protagonist, searching for purpose after the disappearance of her adventurer father (played by Dominic West). “This is a girl trying to figure out what path she’s going to take in life, and there’s a lot of pressure on her,” says Vikander. “She’s like me when I was 20.”
During that phase of Vikander’s life, she was an aspiring actress living in a Notting Hill London flat with members of Icona Pop, the Swedish electropop duo whose breakthrough hit, “I Love It,” had yet to be released. She had just given up ballet after nine years of intensive training, three of which were spent at the distinguished Royal Swedish Ballet School in Stockholm. “I realized it was so easy to be in that bubble and never get out,” she recalls. “Once, my New Year’s resolution was to find friends outside of the school so I could see what’s beyond the grounds. I’d see a cool girl and say”—feigning honking enthusiasm—“‘Where are you going? A party? Okay, great!’” To this day, the people she met during her version of Rumspringa remain her closest friends.
Vikander’s acting career got off to a bumpy start. In 2011, she flew to L.A. for the first time to audition for the lead in Snow White and the Huntsman, but she lost out to Twilight’s Kristen Stewart. “I thought [the experience] was just going to be a story for my grandchildren,” Vikander recalls with a smile, “telling them about that one time I was in Hollywood pretending to be in a film.” But she kept on, and the roles started coming: Kitty in Anna Karenina (2012), a humanoid robot in Ex Machina (2014), an unwitting spy in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015), her Oscar-winning turn in The Danish Girl (2015), a cyber-ops boss in Jason Bourne (2016) and a Dutch ingénue in last year’s Tulip Fever.
But Vikander’s acting bug can be traced back much farther than this. Growing up in Gothenburg, the daughter of divorced parents, she often accompanied her actress mom to the theater, where she guesses she saw Romeo and Juliet 20 times or more. “I probably knew a big part of the Shakespeare catalogue but, sadly, I didn’t remember it when I did my scenes while applying to theater school,” she says, letting out a disapproving yell as a stylist tugs too vigorously on her ponytail. As a teen, she had posters of Bruce Willis and Leonardo DiCaprio on the wall. “I took a lot of pride that I had him as my favorite before Titanic,” she says.
Though she didn’t get into theater school, Vikander winces at the notion that she is untrained. “What we learned in ballet school was to find our characters deep down and develop them,” she says. “We had to get so aware of small movements, how to tilt your head and flicker your eyes.” Even today, despite billboards advertising her buffed-up Tomb Raider physique, you can see the nimble grace of a former ballerina as she navigates puddles in the back alley where today’s photo shoot is taking place.
For a while, Vikander had toyed with the idea of going into law, but a call from Swedish writer-director Lisa Langseth put an end to that. Though it took about 15 auditions before she landed the role in Langseth’s 2010 film, Pure, she clearly impressed the filmmaker. “Alicia was one of hundreds of girls who passed the camera, and she was so intelligent and sensitive and strong,” Langseth says. “Physically, you could push her very hard. A lot of people, no. They say, ‘I can’t do one more take.’ Alicia would never say that.”
In Vikander’s homeland, the word lagom has come to define a core tenet of the country’s cultural attitude. Loosely translated, it means “just enough, adequate,” and like hygge, the Danish concept of coziness, it’s being touted in the U.S. as a lifestyle trend. When I raise the subject, Vikander sits up in her chair. “Lagom is like the middle of middle grounds,” she says, with a hint of disdain. “You never want to give yourself credit. There is something similar called tall poppy syndrome, which is if one poppy grows a bit taller than the others, you chop it off. Like, you shouldn’t really stand out.” The word is fine as a response to a cup of tea, she continues, “but you wouldn’t let it define your emotion for somebody you love.”
Certainly, lagom doesn’t define Vikander. “I’d rather have the far ends of the spectrum,” she says. “I’d rather have had it been awful and then fabulous.” Tall poppy syndrome, too, doesn’t fit. Along with achieving A-list status as an actress, Vikander has established herself as a brand ambassador and muse for Bulgari and Louis Vuitton. Last October, she further raised her celebrity profile following her secret wedding to Fassbender, whom she met on the set of the 2016 drama The Light Between Oceans. Predictably, she refuses to say anything that isn’t tabloid-proof about the relationship. “I wanted it to be extremely private,” she says. “Of course, marriage is beautiful, but it’s not the big thing. People don’t seek marriage. They seek love.”
Speaking of work, Tomb Raider is a sharp left turn compared to the more serious projects that conferred so much prestige in such a short amount of time. Yes, she’s adding to her arsenal the usual action-movie war stories—being blasted repeatedly with cold water until her lips were too blue to film, needing extra time to cover up cuts and bruises before being red-carpet ready—but none of that would have fazed her after a decade of toe tape and pliés. Still, Vikander doesn’t really seem to be the gamer-movie type, which may be why she took the part.
“The beauty of my work is that I can step into both a character and a world that is completely different from anything I’ve been in before, and even if this has more lightness to it than some of my dramas, it’s still the same kind of intense dedication,” she says. “I hadn’t done a big franchise. When I was 10, I watched the Indiana Jones movies. I was a huge fan of Greek and Egyptian mythology. The kid in me gets excited about being part of this genre.”
Vikander’s friend and Tomb Raider co-star Walton Goggins, who plays villain Mathias Vogel, believes the film adds another dimension to her career. “I don’t know that she’s been given the opportunity to show this kind of playful accessibility,” says the Vice Principals star. “It’s not so dissimilar from what Matt Damon did with the first Jason Bourne movie: a person who has these extraordinary capabilities, but is also so relatable.” The film was shot over five months last year, mostly in Cape Town, South Africa, but also London. Goggins recalls bringing his 7-year-old son to the set. “By the end of the second day, he looked at me and said, ‘Daddy, I want to be Lara Croft.’”
That said, Vikander is hardly retreating from the arthouse fare that launched her career. She’ll soon appear alongside James McAvoy in Submergence, based on the story by J.M. Ledgard, about a biomathematics professor and a British spy, which premiered at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival. It’s directed by Wim Wenders, which is especially thrilling for Vikander, who as a teenager hunted for a fuzzy pink sweater to match the one worn by Nastassja Kinski in Wenders’ 1984 classic, Paris, Texas.
Vikander is sometimes compared to Jessica Chastain, in that she appeared to go directly from obscurity to ubiquity. In eight years, she’s made 21 movies—an average of almost three a year. She did, however, allow herself a short break over the holidays, which were spent skiing in Chamonix with Fassbender and some friends. The keen amateur cook took charge of New Year’s Eve dinner, preparing a bouillabaisse, homemade bread and aioli. “I got back after the slopes in the afternoon and spent, like, three or four hours in the kitchen,” she says. “I love nesting. It’s proof that I am off.” Right now, though, “It’s back to school.”
In January, Vikander attended the Golden Globes, where she was excited to meet Reese Witherspoon and Natalie Portman. They had been emailing for weeks about Time’s Up, a legal defense fund initiated by women in the entertainment industry to provide support to those who have experienced sexual harassment or assault in the workplace. Vikander is among the original signatories of the open letter announcing the campaign at the start of this year. “I was extremely excited to be standing united with all these other women,” she says, and not only in the context of the protest. “I’ve been longing to work with women and not be the only woman in the room, which so often happens on film shoots.”
To that end, Vikander has started her own production company, Vikarious. Her first film is Euphoria, an eerie drama that reunites her with Lisa Langseth. It’s about two estranged sisters (Vikander and Eva Green), one of whom has some very unorthodox plans for their trip through Europe. The hope is that Euphoria and the films that follow it will bring about change in the film industry.
“Something that Natalie and Reese said got to me, which is that women so often have to be competitive [with each other], because we’ve been fighting for the same few jobs,” Vikander says, shaking her head matter-of-factly. “The time’s up for that, too.”
Also joining Graham is Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander, who stars as Lara Croft in the new Tomb Raider movie.
Alicia Vikander To Star In Morten Tyldum-Directed Thriller ‘The Marsh King’s Daughter’; STXintl Handling In Berlin
In what shapes up to be one of the hot titles in the upcoming Berlin sales market, Black Bear Pictures will finance and produce with Anonymous Content the Morten Tyldum-directed dramatic thriller The Marsh King’s Daughter. Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander has come attached to play the lead role. STXinternational has closed a deal to handle international territories at Berlin. Pic is an adaptation of the international bestseller by Karen Dionne that was published last summer by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.
The scripted adaptation is by Elle Smith and The Revenant scribe Mark L. Smith. Vikander will play Helena Petterier, who on the surface leads an ideal life with a great husband and a young daughter. She keeps secret her shocking backstory: her mother was kidnapped as a teen, and she was the product of the relationship between captive and tormentor. She lives for 12 years in a life carefully controlled by her kidnapper/father, until he was caught and sent to prison. An escape that leaves two prison guards dead forces her to confront her secret history and she becomes determined to bring down her father, who gave her all the tools she will need. He is the one called the Marsh King, the man who kept a woman and her young daughter captive in the wilderness for years. Sensing the danger this monster poses for her husband and young daughter, she vows to hunt him down. Vikander will be next seen in action mode as she plays Lara Croft in Tomb Raider.
The film puts Teddy Schwarzman’s Black Bear back in business with Tyldum; Black Bear financed and produced The Imitation Game, which got eight Oscar nominations including Best Picture. Black Bear, whose most recent film is the Oscar-nominated Dee Rees-directed Mudbound, is producing with Anonymous Content, the company behind Spotlight and The Revenant. Schwarzman, Keith Redmon, Tyldum and Mark L. Smith are the producers. Bard Dorros of Anonymous Content and Vikander are the exec producers.
STX Entertainment division STXinternational is handling international distribution and will distribute in the UK and Ireland.
“The Marsh King’s Daughter is one of the most hypnotic thrillers you’ll ever experience, much in the vein of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Gone Girl, and who better than Morten Tyldum to direct this psychologically gripping story into a complex yet riveting tale about captivity and redemption,” said David Kosse, President of STXinternational. “We are thrilled to introduce this exceptionally compelling project from such an esteemed team of filmmakers and talent to our international partners in Berlin.”
Vikander is repped by UTA, Tavistock Wood and Actors in Scandinavia. Tyldum is represented by WME, Anonymous Content, and Bloom Hergott. Elle Smith is repped by Rain Management; Mark L. Smith is repped by WME, Anonymous Content and Syndicate Entertainment; both are also repped by attorney Mark Temple. Dionne is repped by Folio and WME.
This will be the closest you feel to any of your subjects,” says Alicia Vikander, telling me to grab hold of her waist if I get scared. We’re on a two-seater ATV somewhere outside Joshua Tree. We’ve just signed away our right to sue in case of sunburn, collision, hypothermia, and harm by wild animals. Vikander is behind the wheel even though she doesn’t have a driver’s license. What’s the worst that can happen? I accidentally say this out loud. “The worst that can happen is we flip,” Vikander says. “But I’m not going to flip us. I promise.”
An ATV ride was Vikander’s idea, a nod to her turn as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider, a reboot of the 2001 film that transformed Angelina Jolie, the compelling aggressor in Girl, Interrupted, into a big-screen action figure. For Vikander, who won an Oscar for The Danish Girl, the role comes as one of those anointing rituals of modern Hollywood in which an actor is plucked from the land of daring art-house dramas—Scarlett, Jennifer, Shailene—and entrusted with carrying a bankable franchise.
Most likely we’re not going to flip or freeze to death. But there is a chance that we will encounter some reptiles, which is a problem since Vikander and I both have a dreadful fear of snakes. When we compare childhood snake traumas, Vikander’s wins, no contest. It takes place at a lake, and . . . I’ll let her tell it: “It had these diving towers. I finally get to the top, jump, and that’s when I see there are about fifteen snakes in the water. That second I was coming down is like the longest in memory. Obviously those snakes got terrified and swam away, but I was just shaking. I couldn’t move for two days. I never really dove after that.”
This is the woman who wanted to spend a Saturday in the desert—for fun.
Over the past few weeks, Vikander has been on the move. After celebrating her twenty-ninth birthday in Paris, she married Michael Fassbender in Spain, honeymooned in Italy, and stopped over in New York before landing in Los Angeles, where she met me at dawn wearing Nike leggings, trainers, and Céline sunglasses. Arriving with her in Chiriaco Summit, a rest stop–size desert town of shipping containers and roving biker gangs, is a bit like watching an alien landing. An olive-skinned Swede, she glides in a way that feels almost ethereal and speaks with the pleasing, untraceable European accent that children of diplomats have. In Vikander’s charming English, American AC is “air-con,” a person who helps you out is a real “life savior,” and movies are always “cinema.” Here’s her encounter with American diner coffee: “I love that they give you these big cups and like these tiny. . . .” She means creamers.
Randy, our khaki-wearing ATV guide, also seems perplexed by Vikander. “So you’re an actress?” he asks. When she explains that she’s the new Tomb Raider, Randy’s face lights up with boyish recognition. “Tomb Raider?! Oh, my goodness.”
It’s true—Vikander, a former ballerina with a petite frame and delicate old-world features, is an unlikely Croft, the digital embodiment of teen male fantasies from the game consoles of the 1990s. Croft may have been the first heroine of video games, but like most women, she had to endure the indignities that being first entailed: an exaggerated bust, a tiny waist, short shorts. In 2018, a year after Wonder Woman redefined the modern action heroine, Croft is more Olympic athlete than pinup. Gone are the short shorts and belly shirt, replaced with sensible cargo pants. Vikander concedes that she wore a lightly padded bra for the role, but that it was mostly to help her get into a character. “What little I have I kind of pushed up,” she says.
The new film tells an origin story about how Croft became the invincible, gun-wielding archaeologist. The first action sequence shows Vikander racing through London streets—not atop Croft’s signature motorcycle (or an ATV) but on a bicycle. “Bicycling, that’s my big stunt!” she jokes.
“I knew I wanted Alicia to play Lara even before I met her,” says Roar Uthaug, Tomb Raider’s director, who reportedly chose Vikander over Daisy Ridley and Cara Delevingne. “She brings a vulnerability that I think is important. We’re not making a cardboard Hollywood hero. We’re making a girl that’s flesh and blood.” (Or as Dominic West, who plays Croft’s father, describes the reboot: “Less boobs, more fighting.”)
Vikander and I are now careening through sagebrush on the ATV. Her form is natural, easy. I do OK, but mostly I look like a rag doll trying to ride a lawn mower. With the temperature nearing 100, Vikander slips her arms inside her tank top to shield them from the sizzling midday sun, revealing a white lace bra. “Fuck it,” she says. “We’re in the desert. I’m hot. He doesn’t care.” Meaning Randy, who very gallantly tries to avert his eyes every time he turns in our direction.
I’m trying to be respectful, too, but it’s hard not to admire Vikander’s post–Tomb Raider figure, the product of a six-month shoot in South Africa that involved weight training, MMA fighting, climbing, archery, and swimming. “Alicia is quite badass,” says West, who spent his downtime on set surfing with Fassbender. “And she’s deadly serious about the work. I was always trying to get her out to the pub, but she was very disciplined.”
That resilience shows as Vikander easily maneuvers choppy terrain. And yet there’s something about her perpetually cool composure that hints at a sensitive being with impressive coping skills. “I think she gets that from ballet,” says Alexia Wennberg Alm, who grew up with Vikander in Sweden and remains her best friend. “From a really early age you kind of put on a stage face, and she’s always been very good at keeping everything together.”
It might also have to do with growing up as the daughter of a theater actress and a psychiatrist. There’s a hint of romanticism when Vikander tells me that her parents met at a party in the Swedish city of Gothenburg and fell in love talking about death. “It was four in the morning, and everyone had left,” Vikander says, “and they were like, ‘But we’d really like to finish our conversation!’ ” They split up shortly after Vikander was born, but she stayed close to her father, spending weekends with him and her stepsiblings. At her mom’s house, she remained an only child. “When it’s two women . . . you’re close,” she says. When Vikander left home at fifteen to attend the Royal Swedish Ballet School in Stockholm, she was more worried about leaving her mother than being on her own.
Vikander acted in theater as a child, but once in Stockholm, she was denied admission to drama school four times in a row. She got a job at a Levi’s store, took a trip to India, and considered going to law school. That time of feeling adrift was something Vikander wanted to instill in the new Croft, who begins the film as a 21-year-old struggling to make rent on a shared flat. “She hasn’t found her footing in the world just yet,” Vikander says. “The film is really her discovery of herself. ”
After getting her first film roles, in Swedish director Lisa Langseth’s Pure and the historical drama A Royal Affair, Vikander moved to London. Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina followed, and at the age of 21, she went to Los Angeles to take meetings, as they say. “It became very apparent how vulnerable I was,” she says, recalling how she was told to curl her hair and put on high heels for morning auditions. “It was very not me, but I did curl my hair, and I did put on a pair of heels. As a younger woman, with much less self-confidence and not knowing you don’t have to do something. . . .” She trails off. “If everyone else says this is what you do, then who am I to question it?”
With the reckoning of Harvey Weinstein still close enough in the rearview mirror, Vikander’s words sound a familiar alarm of what the industry is like for young women. “I was in such shock and disgust when I read those stories,” Vikander says. Tulip Fever, Vikander’s film with the producer, was released last September, just before the allegations surfaced. “I personally have never found myself in similar situations like some women who have spoken out,” Vikander adds. “I’d heard that he was an incredible bully and that he does anything to get what he wants, but I never thought that meant sexually harassing women.”
For Vikander, the antidote to Hollywood’s public perils has been the private moments when other women have empowered her. Like Julianne Moore, who came to Vikander’s defense when a man in a position of power made a cruel, loud joke at Vikander’s expense on the set of the 2014 fantasy film Seventh Son. “I was really embarrassed, and I would have just laughed it off,” Vikander says, not naming the man. “But Julianne turned to him and said, ‘If you ever do that again, I’m walking out of here and I’m not coming back.’ ” Vikander’s eyes go glassy during this story. “She was just, like, Don’t you fucking say that again. It showed me that she had the power. And that meant so much to me.”
Vikander joined fellow actresses including Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman, and Michelle Williams at this year’s Golden Globes in promoting Time’s Up, the new initiative to combat workplace sexual misconduct and inequality. The movement started over the holidays as women in the industry began to email one another. “It was such a community that came together,” Vikander tells me the day after the awards show. “I got on the phone with Natalie, whom I’d never met, and Reese. Suddenly I felt like I made a lot of new friends. One thing that really got to me in their initial email was the fact that—because women are not as well represented in all industries—we often have to fight for jobs. The competition is so tough that instead of getting to know each other and working together, we learned at an early age to compete for that single spot. So then to get on the carpet yesterday and feel like I had actually made friends with the other actresses and people I admire, it was really cool.”
Our ATV ride over, we pull back into the parking lot, covered in a layer of dust so thick it looks like we’ve gotten bad spray tans. I’m relieved to hear her admit that there were times she felt nervous during the ride. “I think I imagined it would be much less bushy,” she says, “and when we got there, I was like, Shit! This looks exactly like a place where all the snakes would live.”
After scrubbing down with baby wipes, Vikander and I are back in the car, heading to Palm Springs for lunch. “They’re going to be like, ‘Oh, my God, these girls didn’t have a wash,’ ” she says. And yet there’s a sense that this is a more natural state for Vikander. Not dressed for red carpets or cooped up in hotels, but getting to roam around outdoors. I tell her that I envy her ability to appear fearless, and Vikander nods. “People always think I’m not scared,” she says. “I’ve noticed that whenever I feel stressed, everyone thinks I’m fine, and later it’s like, ‘I was not fine.’ That’s just how I deal with it. I need to tell myself I’m OK. And then I am.”
A time Vikander was not OK was in 2015, when she began to cross over from the anonymity that comes with being a foreign actress into the bewildering Hollywood spotlight. “I felt anxious and sad for the first time in my life,” she says. Pinpointing the period to the release of The Danish Girl, she describes the demands of interviews and red carpets as a splitting of the self. “When I read things about me I thought, That’s so far away from who I thought I am. It really messed with my head.”
A self-protective instinct set in—and a hesitation to, for instance, dance when out with her friends, knowing that several smartphone cameras are likely hovering nearby. (Riding in the desert, Vikander had said something about how we were probably safe from the paparazzi. I thought she was joking. We were in an area so barren and remote, it looked apocalyptic. And yet, a few days later, photos surfaced in the Daily Mail under the headline “Start your engines! Newlywed Alicia Vikander gets an adrenaline rush as she rides atv with pal just weeks after marrying Michael Fassbender.”)
At the Parker hotel in Palm Springs, Vikander sits with her back to the dining room. She tells me it was important to her that her wedding in Ibiza remained a small, discreet gathering of friends and family. “It’s not about being secretive,” she explains. “It’s just about choosing the few things that you keep private.” For now, Vikander has managed to maintain a distance from the Hollywood machine that tends to consume its new arrivals. When she and Fassbender travel to New York, they like to stay in Airbnbs in Bushwick. Her social circle is composed not of actors but of old Stockholm friends, like Wennberg Alm, whom Vikander has taken as her date to Cannes and the Oscars. As Wennberg tells me, “I talk to her more than I do with many of my friends in Stockholm. I think she needs all of us back home to remind her of everything normal.”
Besides Tomb Raider, there are as of now two more Vikander films on the horizon—Submergence, a Wim Wenders romantic thriller with James McAvoy, and Euphoria, a European family drama and her third collaboration with Lisa Langseth. But for the past five months, she’s been taking a break. She’s been catching up on reading, plowing through Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari, the provocative macro-history of humankind endorsed by Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg. She even got to fly home to see her mother perform in a play in Gothenburg. “When I was a kid, I’d ask my mom, ‘Why are you crying when we’re singing in school?’ ” Vikander says. “And now it was almost the reverse. I was so proud.”
Recently she and Fassbender decided to settle down in Lisbon, which Vikander pronounces very “Williamsburg-ish,” describing its mix of history and turn-of-the-century factories. “And apparently Madonna moved there,” she deadpans.
When I ask about married life, she considers the question carefully. “I feel I’m more happy and content than I’ve ever been,” she says. Vikander and Fassbender met while playing a married couple in Derek Cianfrance’s The Light Between Oceans. Would they consider working together again? Vikander gives the kind of tactful answer that actors are so good at: Yes, if the right project comes along. “We had a great experience, apart from the fact that we. . . .” She looks at the ring on her finger and laughs. “I think he’s one of the absolute best actors I’ve worked with. Of course he’d done more films than me, but immediately when we started to work together he was so open to wanting me to chip in new ideas and thoughts. He would be like, ‘I’m stuck; what should I do?’ and I would say, ‘You’re asking me?’ That was such a sweet thing. . . . Life is about a lot more than work, but if it’s also your biggest passion, of course it’s something you enjoy talking about.”
Oh, and Vikander would like to clarify something: “The happy-and-content thing, that’s talking about my private life.” Professionally, there is still a lot she’d like to do. Euphoria is the first film Vikander has produced, as part of her new company, Vikarious Film, and she’s currently looking for its next project. She’d like to try writing and comedy, which she describes as “a big fear for dramatic actors.”
When I point out that she has a thirst for doing things she’s afraid of, Vikander seems to know what I’m talking about. “That feeling has brought me to a lot of projects,” she says. “Like I don’t really know how to approach a character or a story, and that excitement mixed with fear makes me want to wake up really early and work.”
“The Magic Diner Part II” finds the Tomb Raider actress, Alicia Vikander, holed up in the Ritz Carlton high above Manhattan’s Central Park, hiding from her admiring public, and fretting that her supernatural gizmo may have, at long last, run out of answers. Which is when a surprise visitor knocks at her door…
Swedish film star Alicia Vikander set up her own Swedish film production company out of frustration at the lack of female directors in Hollywood, she has told Swedish Television.
Vikander, who takes over this March as Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider franchise, said she had tired of the lip-service paid to gender equality in the US film industry.
“Everyone kept on talking about how great it was that I got to play ‘strong, complex female roles’,” she said in an interview with Swedish Television. “I’m so tired of hearing those words! At the same time, there’s not a single woman to work with.”
Vikander was said on a visit to her hometown of Gothenburg to visit the city’s film festival, where Euphoria, the first film produced by her company, Vikarious Productions, was screened as part of its Nordic Competition.
The film, which follows two sisters travelling by train towards a Swiss euthanasia clinic, was directed by Lisa Langseth, who also directed Vikander’s 2009 feature film debut Pure.
Vikander pointed out that when she had started out in film, all of the screen-writers and directors she had worked with had been women.
“I started working in Sweden and only worked with female directors and screenwriters, and then when I went abroad I never got to do that ever again, right up until now, when I got to work with Lisa again,” she said.
She said that she had never herself been sexually propositioned or mistreated by shamed US producer Harvey Weinstein, despite starring in Tulip Fever, which was produced by The Weinstein Company. Although the film was only released last year, it was shot in 2014.
“I myself have been lucky and not involved in such a tough situation myself,” she said. “But I was extremely shocked, upset and angry. I have tried to be there with other women I worked with and supported those who dared to talk.”
Vikander in 2015 won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as the painter Gerda Wegener in The Danish Girl, and was nominated for a Golden Globe and a Bafta for her role as a humanoid robot in Ex Machina in 2015.
Tomb Raider will be released in the US on March 18th.
‘It is not all about men versus women – it is also about us, women to women,’ Vikander said at the Swedish festival’s opening ceremony
Friday’s opening ceremony of Sweden’s 41st Göteborg Film Festival belonged to local girl made good Alicia Vikander.
“I haven’t had the possibility to come home as much as I have wanted in the last few years; it means a lot to be on this stage tonight , and I have therefore made the decision to continue this speech in Swedish,” said Swedish international actress Alicia Vikander on Friday at Göteborg’s Draken cinema, where she received the Nordic Dragon Award at the opening ceremony of the festival.
Born and raised in Göteborg, Vikander went on to say that she had made “three-and-a-half films” with strong women, two directors, plus writers, producers and women actresses in the leading roles,
“It made me realize that strong women are alone, as women, on the big screen. The roles we play are against strong men. I’ve played four leading roles in a row, and didn’t have a single scene with another woman.”
Vikander’s reaction? “Instead of getting frustrated, I told myself to focus – that I can be part of a change. Not alone, but together with others, as in MeToo, TimesUp, Sweden’s Tystnadtagning ShoutOut. It is not all about men versus women, it is also about us, women to women. We have been separated and made to compete.”
“But we have suddenly realised there is not room for only ONE girl; we are sisters, not competitors, and with sisterhood comes play and creativity. During the last few months, I have made more friends in the business than I have managed to rattle together from all the films I have worked on before,” Vikander concluded.
The prize-winner, who praised Göteborg as the festival “where it all started for me – where I early discovered some of my favorite directors: Wes Anderson, Sophia Coppola, Michael Haneke and Andrea Arnold” – will also attend the Nordic premiere of her film “Euphoria,” by Swedish director Lisa Lengseth, which marks Vikander’s first venture as a producer.
At a ceremony hosted by Swedish actress Emma Molin, the festival’s artistic director Jonas Holmberg – who has selected films from 79 countries – presented this year’s focus of nationalism. “We are against this unpleasant and extreme movement of radicalism which we also see in certain countries in exchange of cultural freedom.”
Sweden’s minister for culture and democracy, Alice Bah Kuhnke made the official festival opening, where Swedish producer and festival board member Bengt Toll gave the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s €20,000 ($24,000) Mai Zetterling Grant to Swedish animation director Jonas Odell.
The world’s new Lara Croft talks about producing, always learning, acting as hard work, and muscling up for ‘Lara Croft,’ in a Göteborg Festival masterclass
“This job is basically hard work in many ways,” Alicia Vikander said Sunday on stage at Sweden’s Göteborg Festival. She has proved that in her still-brief career: During the last 10 years, the Swedish actress has played major roles in more than 30 feature and TV productions.
Vikander proved it again over the weekend at Göteborg where, as a guest of honor, she received a Nordic Honorary Dragon Award at Friday’s fest opening, then gave a masterclass on Sunday – having attended the Swedish premiere of her latest feature, director Lisa Langseth’s“Euphoria,” her third performance for Langseth.
This time round, Vikander and Eva Green play two sisters, seeking understanding after a conflictive relationship. “Euphoria” marks Vikander’s first film as a producer after, two years ago, she set up Vikarious Productions with her London-based agent Charles Collier, of Tavistock Wood.
“We plan to do another two in the next two years – currently we are considering a couple of projects, and I think I can be more specific in May,” Vikander explained on stage at Göteborg’s Stora Teatern, after the screening of ”Euphoria” in the festival’s Nordic Competition.
Vikander will shortly have two major international roll-outs: Norwegian director Roar Uthaug’s US adventure-actioner ”Tomb Raider,” from March 18, where she has taken over the Lara Croft role from Angelina Jolie; and German director Wim Wenders’ romantic thriller ”Submergence,” from April 13, opposite Scottish actor James McAvoy.
”I am so fortunate that my job is my passion, and over the years I have realized I want to get into a film when it is still an idea, and not just receive the script on the first shooting day,” continued the only Swedish actress besides Ingrid Bergman to win an Oscar, for U.K. director Tom Hooper’s ”The Danish Girl.”
Vikander added: “You always need a good story to make a good film – everybody is still struggling to find them – still I have read many good scripts which turned out to become totally different from what you would expect. So I have learned to give more credit to the producer, director, photographer and editor than I used to.”
Originally trained as a dancer at the Royal Swedish Ballet School in Stockholm and the School of American Ballet in New York, Vikander started acting in shorts and television series; she made her feature debut in Langseth’s ”Pure” (2010) which earned her Sweden’s national Guldbagge award for Best Actress.
“In filmmaking, you learn all the time,” she recalled. “British actress Charlotte Rambling was also in ‘Euphoria,’ and I was sitting behind the monitor, when she shot her first scene. She seems to have kept all her ages in her life- She is a very thoughtful woman of almost 72, and she can act them all, from a little kid or a teenager to gracefully-aged.
For Vikander, ”this is what acting is also about – jumping into different memories, reviving former experiences. Some actors get their background from reading a lot of books, I prefer to go out and talk to people – and then I love to travel, I think I have visited more than 50 countries, and you always take something back you can use.”
She also practises meditation, which her father did at home – sometimes when he had had enough of taking care of his five children, Vikander said, he would go down into the basement and return after 20 minutes in better shape. When she was 15 years old, she joined a women’s course as the only participant under 45.
“Otherwise this job is basically hard work in many ways. To get a lead role in Danish director Nikolaj Arcel’s “A Royal Affair” (2012), which opened at the Berlinale and was later Oscar-nominated, I had to learn Danish in eight weeks. For “Tomb Raider” I trained so much that I put on six kilos of muscles.”
“I am now so lucky that I can more or less decide what I want to work with, otherwise success just gives you an illusion of glamour. My closest friends around me are the same I had some years ago, and my world in public is very different from real life – sometimes it is even difficult to reflect on it,” Vikander concluded.
Submergence, which Erin Dignam adapted from J.M. Ledgard’s novel, finds two lovers, separated by thousands of miles as they both face life-or-death situations. James McAvoy is James Moore, a British intelligence agent who has fallen afoul of jihadist fighters in Somalia. As he endures his captivity, his thoughts drift to marine bio-mathematician Danielle Flinders (Alicia Vikander), the women he fell for after they met the previous Christmas at a swanky, remote retreat. She, meanwhile, is thinking of him as her submersible explores the depths of the ocean floor, and gets into its own danger in the murky waters.
Plenty of scope for thematic resonance here, but can Wenders capture the feel of his best? Having two proven stars doesn’t hurt, and the film will be out in the UK on 18 May.