Berlin First Look: 'Stranger Things' Star Alec Utgoff Is a Sexy Masseur in 'Wonderful Xenia'

Jaroslaw_Sosinski
'Wonderful Xenia'

The British actor plays a Ukrainian migrant working as a masseur in a gated community in Poland who becomes an unlikely source of inspiration (and lust) for his needy clients.

Dr. Alexei is getting his sexy on.

Alec Utgoff, who plays the bespectacled Russian scientist in the Netflix phenomenon Stranger Things, has toned up and stripped down for his new role, playing a masseur and spiritual guru in Wonderful Xenia, the hotly anticipated new feature from Polish auteur Malgoska Szumowska (Mug, The Other Lamb).

Utgoff plays the titular Xenia, an industrious Ukrainian migrant worker in Poland who becomes a masseur making house calls to the needy and aspirational residents of a middle-class gated community near Warsaw. His grounded spirituality and apparent healing powers, as well as those broad shoulders and that muscular physique, make him a source of inspiration, and an object of lust, for many of the lost souls in the community. These include Ewa, played by Agata Kulesza, the Polish star of  Pawel Pawlikowski's Oscar-winning Ida.

Szumowska won Silver Bears in Berlin for Mug in 2018 and Body in 2015. Her English-language debut, The Other Lamb, premiered  in Toronto last year. The director co-wrote Wonderful Xenia with Michal Englert, her screenwriter on Mug and Body and the cinematographer on all her recent films. "[Wonderful Xenia] is similar to our previous work in some ways but kind of very new, very fresh, a bit like an exciting new opening for us," Szumowska said in an email to The Hollywood Reporter. "This one is funny and sad at the same time. A bit creepy and magical."

Wonderful Xenia is produced by Agnieszka Wasiak and Mariusz W┼éodarski for Lava Films and by Viola Fügen and Michael Weber for Match Factory Productions. Principal photography just wrapped. Match Factory is shopping the film to international buyers at the European Film Market in Berlin.