EW: For Alicia Vikander and Michael Fassbender, their new film The Light Between Oceans (in theaters Sept. 2) is something of a journey back in time. Both to the 1920s, when the gorgeous drama by director Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine) takes place, but also to 2014, when the movie’s two stars met and fell in love while making it.
The film is based on M.L. Stedman’s best-selling tearjerker novel, and in it, Vikander and Fassbender play a couple living in blissful seclusion on a lighthouse-capped island. But they are dealt tragic blows as Isabel suffers multiple miscarriages, before one day a rowboat mysteriously washes ashore with a baby on board. The drama that follows is heartbreaking, but the two actors fill their roles with incandescent grace notes.
Off screen, they are a public couple — she kissed him, after all, before accepting her Oscar for The Danish Girl last February — though they’ll never be accused of oversharing. Neither is active on social media, and on this weekend afternoon in downtown Manhattan, Vikander, 27, and Fassbender, 39, sit on opposite ends of a couch. Though they do, for the first time, address their relationship, calmly and efficiently, they would much rather talk about their work.
But that still includes the experience that brought them together. “ ‘Summer camp’ is something I’ve used to explain filmmaking to friends and family,” Vikander says. Fassbender adds: “You have to come together very quickly. That’s a very specific, unusual thing to this business — and it can be a very powerful thing.”