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Posted by admin on Jul 23, 2023
Alicia Vikander on Having Fun With Jude Law on ‘Firebrand,’ and Why She and Husband Michael Fassbender Chose to Move to Lisbon

“You surround yourself with really nice people,” the star also told reporters at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, where she received a lifetime achievement honor.

Alicia Vikander has received much love and the President’s Award for lifetime achievement at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival during its 57th edition, which opened on Friday.

The Oscar winner got a very warm reception from attendees of the opening ceremony, charming the audience by mentioning that her film A Royal Affair had shot in the Czech Republic, that she had enjoyed her time in the country and that it had been “pivotal” for her career. Karim Aïnouz’s Firebrand, starring Vikander as Queen Catherine Parr, the final wife of Henry VIII, who’s played by Jude Law, then kicked off this year’s fest.

In a wide-ranging roundtable conversation with The Hollywood Reporter and other media representatives, Vikander shared how she decides which roles to take on and why learning lines is so important for her. She also discussed her producing work, including future projects, film festival venues Cannes and Busan, Brexit and why she and husband Michael Fassbender decided to move to Lisbon.

Congratulation. Firebrand and your work in it have received so much praise. Do you know yet how you will follow up this film? Do you have a plan for your next project or projects yet?

It’s very different but also an indie film, and we are supposed to start to shoot very soon. I just want to say that nothing is super confirmed, but we have been trying to get this film off the ground with a French director named Fleur Fortune, called The Assessment, and with Lizzie [Elizabeth] Olsen — also an extraordinary actress. [According to reports, the two stars will play a couple living in a dystopian future where life and childbirth are controlled and optimized.] I can’t really say anything more, but it’s very different. The role is to the point where I’m excited because part of me doesn’t really know yet. I’m doing all this preparation, but it’s a very physical part and something I’ve never done before.

Anything else you can share about this or other future projects?

This is a small film. It has some genre elements to it, but it’s a very indie production. It has a European crew, and the French director is a first-time feature director. But I read that script, and I was like, “Uh huh.” And I had a chat with her. She’s extraordinary. I did my research. She’s done some pretty amazing 30-minute short films. She’s worked with Travis Scott and Pharrell, and she’s very visual. I spoke to her, and I was blown away. She’s such a cool woman, and I’m really excited.

Then, for next year, they have started to shoot now in South Korea Hope with [director] Na Hong-jin. [The thriller about a mysterious discovery in a remote harbor town will also feature Vikander’s husband Michael Fassbender.] I don’t know if you have seen [Na Hong-jin’s] The Wailing. I saw that film in 2016, and I had already seen The Chaser, which was his first film.

What can you tell us about your film festival experiences?

My first international film festival that I ever went to was Busan [in 2010], with Pure, my Swedish film that won the international [Flash Forward] award there. Now, everyone is looking at South Korea. It is the hottest thing there is now. But back then, there were all these films in Asia that I didn’t know of, and I very much then started to educate myself about cinema there. Na Hong-jin is someone I have been following. I’m a huge fan.

[After she reached out to him, the director even developed a project she was producing but had to bow out “in a very nice way” when he got the chance to make a big film, Vikander noted.] But then he came back one and a half years later and said, “Well, do you want to be in the film?” So, now I am going to be in his film, and that’s going to be super cool. That is a very big film made outside of the Hollywood system, totally financed out of South Korea.

I went to Cannes the year after with the crew that I had been with in A Royal Affair. It was interesting because I had grown up with my mother who was an actress. Cannes, Venice and Berlin were these festivals that I obviously had looked up to and seen images from.

But after I had been to Busan, it kind of shocked me, because Busan is bigger. When I came to Cannes, I was like, “Oh, it’s not as big.” It is funny because Busan is also on a Croisette, so it’s kind of built up the same way. You should google the Busan opening ceremony — it’s like the Olympics. It’s 8,000 people watching the cinema screen, it’s not 1,000.

When The Danish Girl premiered in 2015, the topic of the movie was pretty controversial…

I was speaking to some trans women, and we kind of came onto the subject of The Danish Girl. And I was very much like, “Yeah, I am totally aware that that film was not going to be made today.” They said, “That’s just part of the journey, and we showed it to our parents to introduce to them a bit to what we were going through.” That was nice to hear. It’s nice to hear people from the community be able to say that. So, I think it was a part of something that was a pivotal change. So, in that sense, I am very proud of the film.

How do outfits and costumes affect your acting?

I have these thoughts or ideas or a feeling that I’m kind of searching for. I don’t know what it is yet. And when you go in for that first fitting, it is really is like if you go to a wedding and you feel like this is me or the version of me I want to be. It does always change. I feel my physicality a bit too, depending on what the role is. But the costume is one of those pretty magical moments when you find the right thing that feels right for your character.

You have worked with many different directors. Do you have any favorite way of working?

My work is never the same. I’m addicted to it to a point. You have directors who are so different, and they approach their work, their rehearsal period or whatever, and the way they shoot very differently. And I have become more and more go with the flow. Now, if a director says something, “Yeah, sure.” I cannot rehearse, I can rehearse. I’m more willing nowadays to embrace different ways of working and realizing that maybe I can dare [to do different things]. Obviously, my own time at home when I’m reading my lines is my time, but I kind of enjoy listening to what these filmmakers might bring that is new compared to the way I have worked before. I have been quite lucky. I have been working with some really cool people that I really admire.

You mentioned learning your lines. Anthony Hopkins once said that acting is all about learning your lines…

I mean, that’s the first step. I kind of have nightmares about not knowing my lines, not being prepared. I’m never going to let that happen. But then when you learn them well enough, you forget them. That’s acting to me. When I see actors, and I know my profession, and I know what it is, but when it’s good, I forget about it. That’s the essence of it feeling extremely natural.

You worked with Jude Law on Firebrand but also Anna Karenina before. What is the acting dynamic between the two of you?

We were both royals back then too. (Laughs.) When I went in on that set with Jude Law and Keira Knightley, suddenly they were part of my reality. That was one of the first times that happened in my work experience. Keira is just like three years older than me but obviously had like a career longer than what I have now because she started so early. And she’s the coolest — so sweet and so hard-working.

Jude and Keira and all the very experienced actors were so humble, and they really took time. It’s when you notice that someone knows your name and really makes an effort for you to feel comfortable and feel this is a safe space where you can work, and it’s all good. And that’s what Jude did, so I knew that he was a wonderful man who cares a lot about his work. I was also a big fan because I had seen Karim’s films. I really wanted to work with him. Jude was already attached when I read it, so I knew this was going to be a fun job.

Fun with a serious drama?

Jude and I had a press conference in Cannes. And before that, we had single interviews, and he came and said: “I ended up just saying that it’s been a really fun job, and people are looking at me.” I said: “We did have a lot of fun.” I think actually when you are handling very heavy subjects, and you know that you need to do justice to them if you have fun in your work, you’ll be able to bring that out more authentically.

A few years ago you launched your own production company Vikarious Productions. Are you still working on projects through that?

We have three films that have been stuck in development because COVID hit, and also I just focused on my biggest project in my life when I had a child. I also produce not through Vikarious but as a sole producer. I’m doing that now on another project. So, I’ve been producing, but I still really, really would love one of the projects that we are developing in Vikarious to take off.

You and your family have been living in Lisbon? Why?

Yes, the last five years. When we were based in London, I had been there for seven years, and I got my own house and renovated it. But Michael had been living there for 18 years or something, and he was very much wanting to move somewhere away from a big city. London is quite a hub for our industry, and I wasn’t really ready, but then Brexit happened. I was very sad. I have always felt very much like a European. We had a lot of friends who talked about moving to Lisbon, and then we went down there, and I [liked it] immediately. And by the time we kind of came back, it didn’t take more than a few weeks, and we had bought what is our house. And everyone was like: “Really?” The weather obviously is a bit better than in Sweden and Ireland. It is a smaller city, but the people are so friendly. And in 25 minutes we are on a beach, or me and my friends’ kids can skateboard or surf. It’s a very family-oriented place.

How do you manage to survive in showbiz and remain a nice person?

You surround yourself with really nice people. I have mostly been grounded. In my private life, I have the friends I had when I was 20 — my best friends. A lot of them are Swedish, but a lot of them actually work abroad now, too. Girlfriends and male friends who are in New York, in Paris and in Berlin. They have made pretty cool careers. [Source]


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Irma Vep (TV Series) 2022
Alicia as Mira Harberg
Mira, an American movie star disillusioned by her career and a recent breakup, who comes to France to star as Irma Vep in a remake of the French silent film classic, "Les Vampires."

Firebrand 2023
Alicia as Catherine Parr
Follows Queen Catherine Parr and Henry VIII marriage.

Hope 2024
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A mysterious discovery is made on the outskirts of the remote harbor town. The residents find themselves in a desperate fight for survival against something they have never encountered before.

Origin of Species 2024
Alicia as Unknown
Follows a group of people fueled by a profound desire for change, in order to turn their back to society they leave everything behind and set their futures on the harsh landscape of The Galapagos.
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