Alicia Vikander Enjoys Her Moment ; the Swedish Actress Is Suddenly the Film World's New Big Thing

By Shattuck, Kathryn | International New York Times, June 2, 2015 | Go to article overview

Alicia Vikander Enjoys Her Moment ; the Swedish Actress Is Suddenly the Film World's New Big Thing


Shattuck, Kathryn, International New York Times


The Swedish actress is suddenly the film world's new big thing.

"I could stop traffic," Alicia Vikander said, sliding out of a banquette at Koi in the Trump SoHo New York as a roomful of diners collectively paused, forks aloft, and gaped.

The Swedish actress was commenting on the safety-orange Victoria Beckham trousers adorning her whisper-thin physique. But the unintentional reference to her own ravishing physicality -- the gamin bone structure, that sullen pout, those velvety fawn eyes -- would not be lost on moviegoers in thrall to one of her latest creations, be it Ava, the exquisite embodiment of artificial intelligence in "Ex Machina"; Gaby Teller, the Courreges-mod '60s spy in "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.," due in August; or Vera Brittain, the protofeminist British pacifist in "Testament of Youth," which was released in Britain in January and is opening in June in the United States.

Ms. Vikander, 26, is enjoying what they call a Moment. Designers want to dress her, as witnessed by the Nicolas Ghesquiere couture she wore at the Cannes Film Festival and the Met Gala as the new face of Louis Vuitton. Women want to look like her, tracking down the European beauty brands (Hudsalva skin ointment, anyone?) said to heighten her honeyed glow.

And filmmakers want to partner her with their most bankable leading men. In her expanding list of dreamy on-screen swains: Dane DeHaan and Christoph Waltz in "Tulip Fever," about a 17th-century Dutch love triangle; Eddie Redmayne in "The Danish Girl," about the first man to undergo sex reassignment surgery; and Michael Fassbender (the beau whose existence she refused to confirm despite abundant circumstantial photographic evidence) in "The Light Between Oceans," about a lighthouse-dwelling Australian couple who rescue a baby from a drifting rowboat.

How does it feel being a sensation?

"Things don't happen overnight," she said, leveling her fluttery gaze. Ms. Vikander's restrained warmth can freeze over in a nanosecond when questions get uncomfortable. "It's been three years since I've done some of those films, and I'm just happy that they're going to get an audience."

Opening in the Edwardian spring of 1914, "Testament of Youth," adapted from Brittain's canonical memoirs, recounts her coming-of- age amid the specter of World War I as she prepares for the Oxford entrance exam against her parents' wishes. Sulking in upper-middle- class comfort in sylvan Derbyshire, she is doted on by a triumvirate of strapping boys -- her brother, Edward (played by Taron Egerton), and his friends Victor Richardson (Colin Morgan) and Roland Leighton (Kit Harington) -- eager to test their manhood on the front lines.

Vera supports them at first. But when Roland -- their love unfurling in resplendent poetry and clandestine kisses on chaperoned outings -- goes to France, she abandons her studies and volunteers as a nurse. The seeds of Vera's pacifism are sown while confronting a loss of such staggering magnitude that had she been writing a novel, her editor might have suggested toning it down.

"Even though I knew of the special revolution of women that happened very quickly because of the First World War, to read this young woman's own words and to feel so connected -- you know, she felt so modern," Ms. Vikander said in a throaty British accent -- one part, dialect coaches; the other, London living. During filming she carried a copy of the last letter Roland wrote to Vera. "She felt like a girl I could have a coffee with, with the same kind of ideas and thoughts that I have nowadays."

The producer Rosie Alison, the film's driving force, and its director, James Kent, had imagined their Vera as outspoken, candid and unapologetically romantic, and after meeting Ms. Vikander, the role was essentially hers.

"She has this wonderful determination and willfulness, and a passionate, fierce intelligence," Ms. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Alicia Vikander Enjoys Her Moment ; the Swedish Actress Is Suddenly the Film World's New Big Thing
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.