'Ex Machina's' Alicia Vikander on Playing an Android, Meryl Streep Envy and Swedish Cinema
THR's Next Big Thing has seven movies in nine months (including at least three potential Oscar contenders) and an Ingrid Bergman documentary at Cannes.
This story first appeared in the May 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
At the 2005 Oscars, host Chris Rock asked why Jude Law was "in every movie I have seen?" Ten years later, the same could be asked of Swedish actress Alicia Vikander, who stars in no fewer than seven movies set to hit theaters during the next nine months, at least three of which are likely to garner Oscar buzz: Derek Cianfrance's The Light Between Oceans, opposite real-life boyfriend Michael Fassbender; John Wells' culinary tale Adam Jones, with Bradley Cooper; and The Danish Girl, opposite Eddie Redmayne. Already in theaters is A24's hit thriller Ex Machina, in which she plays a cunningly seductive android. This summer, Vikander plays the female lead in Warner Bros.' The Man from U.N.C.L.E. remake, opposite Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer, and stars in the World War I drama Testament of Youth. The daughter of stage actress Maria Fahl Vikander also is the newest face of Louis Vuitton and will have a high profile at the Cannes Film Festival as the "voice" of the late Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman in the documentary Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words.
How did you wind up with a British accent?
I learned to speak English by watching movies, mostly British movies. And now I live in London.
Whose career do you covet most?
Meryl Streep. Jennifer Lawrence, an actress my age who has done a wide variety of roles. And Julianne Moore, who I did a smaller role with once [in the February release Seventh Son] and thought she was incredible. Actresses who dare to do things they might be scared of. It's easy to work in something you feel comfortable in.
"Every single film is its own experience and its own little world. When you're in it, there's nothing else," says Vikander, photographed by Blossom Berkofsky on April 3 at New York's The Bowery Hotel.
What attracted you to playing an android in Ex Machina?
[Alex Garland's] script was a page-turner. It was like reading one hell of a good book: just three characters, a thrilling and scary character-based script you could do a lot with. Normally, with any character, you can at least relate to it as a human, but in this film you couldn't even do that. It was like a blank sheet.
A24, the film's distributor, generated headlines at SXSW when your character joined Tinder. Are you on Tinder?
That was something I wasn't involved in, something they've actually apologized for. I myself have never been on Tinder.
Americans are fascinated with Swedish culture thanks to crime thrillers like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. What else should we check out?
I was at home in Sweden a few weeks ago, just for one day, and I asked the same question to my friends. I was like: "So I need to go to the cinema. What should I watch?" They said Force Majeure. It was a very good film by Ruben Ostlund, which I really enjoyed.
Born: Gothenburg, Sweden
Big break: Starring in 2012's foreign-language Oscar nominee A Royal Affair
Reps: UTA, Tavistock Wood Management