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.
2018 Gothenburg Film Festival
The franchise reboot star “worked every muscle” with a fitness and food plan by Hollywood trainer Magnus Lygdback. The results blew up the internet.
“We got some pretty freakish results,” says trainer Magnus Lygdback, who was the mastermind behind Alicia Vikander’s physical transformation to play Lara Croft in Warner Bros.’ Tomb Raider reboot (March 16), which caused a social-media frenzy when images of the Oscar winner in a red bikini in Spain circulated in July.
Vikander, 29, added 16 pounds of muscle to her slender 5-foot-5 frame for the role. Lygdback says he and Vikander didn’t look to the early 2000s franchise star Angelina Jolie for inspiration: “Angelina did a great job, but this is something completely different from the original movies.” Instead, they focused on the physicality that the Swedish-born actress and trained ballet dancer would need to perform acrobatic stunts, from diving off of boats to free climbing in caves. “It’s a modern Lara Croft, a strong, independent woman, and I think it’s exactly what the world needs right now,” says Lygdback.
Seven months before shooting, Vikander followed the trainer’s Magnus Method lifestyle plan beloved by star clients Katy Perry and Britney Spears and designed to boost metabolism and build muscle. The plan emphasizes eating every three hours, no sugar in any form and no “fast” carbs (like in 17 out of every 20 meals).
Mixed martial arts, rock climbing and archery were integrated into Vikander’s training, which also included up to seven days a week in the gym. Four months before production, Lygdback, 38, a former ice hockey player who also hails from Sweden, had Vikander focus on two workout and diet cycles: “building up” muscle for two months, then “cutting” for visual definition for two months. “Alicia is an amazingly hard worker,” says Lygdback. “The hardest part for her was when I would force her to take a day off to recover.”
ALICIA VIKANDER’S FOOD PLAN
Build-Up Cycle: Meals had 40 grams protein, 40 grams carbs and 30 grams fat; snacks had 30 grams proteins. Drinks: water, beetroot-lemon-ginger shots and veggies juices with fruit.
Breakfast: 4 eggs in any form (such as an omelet or a fritatta with vegetables, or poached); Half avocado; Coffee
Snack 1: All snacks are protein-centered (examples: beef or chicken skewers, sashimi, or grilled octopus)
Lunch: 40 grams beef, chicken or fish; 40 grams slow carbs (such as brown rice, quinoa, barley, yams or sweet potato); 30 grams good fat used in cooking, dressing or as a garnish (examples: coconut oil, olive oil, avocado)
Snack 2: Same options as snack 1
Dinner: 40 grams protein; 40 grams slow carbs; 30 grams good fat; No alcohol allowed
Cutting Cycle: Breakfast consisted of 18 to 20 grams protein; lunch and dinner contained 25 grams protein and 50 grams good fat. A snack could have 20 grams protein. Same beverages.
Breakfast: 3 poached eggs; A shot of juice from two lemons
Snack 1: Fish, shellfish or eggs
Lunch: Fish or shellfish; Good fat, including avocado, coconut oil, or medium-chain triglyceride oil (MCT)
Snack 2: Same options as Snack 1
Dinner: Fish or shellfish; Good fat; No alcohol
Alicia Vikander attends The 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 7, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California.
75th Annual Golden Globe Awards