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The Many Faces of Alicia Vikander

陈溪 Cecilia Chan 2016-09-28 16:44

"My feet, they don't look good." This 26-year-old Oscar winner with the beautiful face says. Born and raised in Gothenburg, Sweden, by a psychiatrist father and a stage actor mother, Vikander started learning dancing at the Royal Swedish Ballet School when she was just nine-years-old; practicing for seven hours, six days a week until she turned 16.


This kind of dedication may seem unusual for a child, but Vikander was always interested in performance because of her mother. She recalls that when she was a child, her mother had no choice but to take her to work when they were unable to find a babysitter. One day, she read an advertisement for Swedish director Tomas Alfredson recruiting actors for the movie Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. "All of a sudden, I have a strong passion and it's over for dancing," Vikander recalls, saying that it was this recruitment call that awoke in her the passion for acting. Already, her chance for a dance career was slipping further and further due to repeated injuries, but this ad cemented her desire to pivot to acting. 

"Pain is just like an old friend of mine, but we are not in a very good relationship. It has been away from me since then. However, I may not be a dancer anymore, but I do love to boogie." the actress laughs. 


Leaving home for Stockholm when she was only 15, Vikander has had to be independent from a young age. She learned to cook and take care of herself between perfecting her English, hoping that it would be the edge that will get her into the movie scene. It was a disappointing start; the then-aspiring actress sent her performance demos to many directors but received no response at all. "I didn't even receive a response like 'no thank you'," she says, "so I decided to go to London by myself." On the way to London, I got the call that I'd been expecting all the time, in the airport. It was from Universal Pictures. They invited her to attend an audition for Snow White. "I was sitting in Starbucks, crying and answering the phone. Everyone thought I was calling to break up with my boyfriend. I said, 'no, it's the best news. I can finally be an actress!' However, even though I went to Los Angeles, I didn't get the role."

Yet she wasn't deterred by the rejection. Soon, she started getting roles. One of them was Ex Machina, her break-through movie. This science fiction film directed by Alex Garland about an artificial intelligence, Eva, played by Vikander, trying to fool her maker and pass the Turing test through "performing" human feelings. Vikander's performance was spot-on. In the outer form of half person half robot, she perfectly used her dancing skills. She really showed a robot trying her best to pretend to be a person by perfectly performing those subtle body movements.


"I never intentionally make her walk too perfectly because it will look too 'mechanized' if she walks perfectly. I think she shouldn't appear like a robot because human beings are not perfect and Eva wants to be a person." When it comes to her understanding of the role, the actress says perhaps her mother affected her. She is more mature than her age and she has a unique understanding of the role. This made her stand out from the other actors and her fame took momentum from then onwards. Within a short space of time, Vikander appears in more than six movies in quick succession. One of them is The Light Between Oceans, where she met her boyfriend, A-list actor Michael Fassbender.

"To be honest, everything happened so fast. I feel a little bit surprised and worried," she says. "This kind of feeling is just like everything you wanted before all come true together. But this feeling is scary. All of a sudden, you are in the same room with so many famous people, which will make you constantly ask yourself if you are good enough. This will make you anxious. But many actors say this kind of feeling of loneliness is actually a good thing."


However, nothing stopped. Right after the heady rush of the acclaim of Ex Machina, The Danish Girl, directed by British director Tom Hooper, helped her win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2016 (she already won the nomination of Golden Globe Awards). She played the main character Lili Elbe's wife. The script for the movie had been languishing around for 10 years before director Tom Hooper took it over. "When we start shooting, the cultural background of our life is still rapidly changing. However, I think we should remember people like Lili used to be embroiled in controversy over 100 years ago. Transgender people used to be physically and mentally tortured. We are now facing a revolution." she says.

Many actors are worried about the breakthrough of their roles. But Vikander isn't worried about that at all. Her roles are all very different. Vikander have worked in Jason Bourne 5 with Matt Damon, which undoubtedly helped making her an new action movie star. Though her fame is burning bright, it is just the beginning. 

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