Alicia Vikander: ‘I never thought I would work in English-speaking films or abroad’


Alicia Vikander covered this weekend’s Sunday Times Magazine, from the Australian Telegraph. It’s a decent cover shoot and she looks less cutesy than her usual editorials. Sunday Style finally described her character in Jason Bourne: she’s playing “Heather Lee, the computer hacker turned head of the CIA’s Cyber Ops department who’s determined to finally flush out Jason Bourne.” Of all the character names they could have given her, they went with “Heather”? I always think of that as such an American name (I went to school with, like, seven Heathers), and is Alicia even attempting an American accent? Because now that I know that she’s playing a hacker-turned-CIA-operative, I was like “Oh, that’s why they hired a Swede.” As in, this is Jason Bourne-meets-Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Are there Swedes named Heather? A question for another time. You can read the full interview here, and here are some highlights:

She won a lot of money in Vegas: “I had beginner’s luck. We get per diems [daily payments from the production company] and it felt like Monopoly money. So I put $100 down and then I was like, ‘Oh sh*t.’ But I won two nights out of four. I should have stopped, of course. I won 22 times my money. But it was pure luck and no intelligence, really.”

On making a popcorn movie like ‘Jason Bourne’: “It’s a hard thing making something that feels both gritty and real and a big franchise action movie, that can also have social and political elements, and I think they did such a great job… It’s the age of technology, and [the movie is] all about what morals you have and what decision you make about how to use your abilities. It’s about the question of privacy and what we are or aren’t willing to give in terms of social media.”

Where she comes down on privacy issues: “It’s difficult sometimes to be a small citizen in a big political world.”

When asked about dating Michael Fassbender: “When I go to the movies and see the actors and actresses I look up to, I like knowing as little as possible about them, so I can see them becoming these different characters. If you can find a way to keep a bit of mystery, that’s good for the work.”

Staying off social media: “I tried — I got a bit stressed out that I had to post things. If you enjoy doing it, it’s a great way to keep in touch with audiences. But I didn’t have that drive to do it just privately with my friends, so I wouldn’t be very good at it.”

What her Oscar means to her: “It’s like someone giving you a really nice tap on the shoulder and saying, ‘You’re heading the right way.’ It’s such an honour. I’ll remember that night forever — it’s pretty surreal still. Matt [Damon, who won an Oscar in 1998] gave me some advice: he said, ‘Just remember to have fun.’ The after-parties were incredible, but the highlight of the night was meeting my family and friends backstage, going to this little room with a TV, and all dancing in this tiny space.”

On her career: “I never thought I would work in English-speaking films or abroad. When you’re from a small European country, it’s not really part of your vision of possibility.”

Gender equality: “Last year I realised, ‘Oh my god, I’ve done four films and I’ve never played opposite another woman.’ And I was embarrassed for myself, because I thought of myself as being very aware. That’s how far it’s gone, that it’s so much the norm. Over all the films I’ve made it has been very rare, I can count them, the scenes with women I’ve had. It’s quite rare — except in comedy.”

[From Sunday Style]

She makes a big deal throughout the piece about how she could have never dreamed that she would work in English-language films or find any kind of success in America, but does that ring false to you? In a now-infamous W Magazine interview last year, Vikander boldly predicted that she would be attending the 2016 Oscars to support “three films.” She ended up being sort of right, but the point is that she was thinking about it and making plans and plotting her domination. So is this faux humility, or just trying to rewrite her narrative or what? Also, she makes a big deal in this piece about how she’s not going to talk about Michael Fassbender. Just FYI.


Photos courtesy of Sunday Style.

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59 Responses to “Alicia Vikander: ‘I never thought I would work in English-speaking films or abroad’”

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  1. Harryg says:

    Oh yes you did.

    • Vero says:

      This article is new but what they write in it is copy-paste of old quotes of her. Obviously promotion just ahead of Jason Bourne and so boring. Please be more original next time…

  2. Elle says:

    I really like her.. And she is so lovely!

  3. Jackie Jormp Jomp says:

    I hear they are going ahead with a Clara Bow biopic–I think she’d be perfect for it, and I’ve never even seen one of her movies. She just has the right bright, expressive face.

  4. Lucy says:

    The hatred towards her just because of who she’s dating is so tedious and obvious.

    Ditto anyone who dates Cumberbatch or Hiddleston.

  5. OhDear says:

    I think they saw the backlash of her being straightforward and are now dialing it back. IMO, that’s unfortunate – I thought her honestly about her ambitions was refreshing.

    • Sixer says:

      Me too. I love her usual directness.

    • Bonzo says:

      Same here.

    • SusanneToo says:

      Yep, me four.

    • CornyBlue says:

      At first I was so shocked by that interview because it is so unusual to see a woman be so straightforward with her ambition but I can honestly say that made me want to be more unapologetically ambitious. Loved it !

    • TreadStyle says:

      @OHDEAR I think you may be right. Disappointing.

      • Roxane says:

        @TreadStyle I think sometimes we liked to see ourself as feminist and open -minded but when we hear a confident woman, we’re caught of guard, because that’s unasual.

    • Starkiller says:

      I’m saying this as someone who likes her and her ambition: what a load. Imagine if an American actress were this ambitious? Y’all would be tripping over yourselves to call her crass, vulgar, tacky, and every other name in the book. But since she’s European, she’s “refreshing”. The double standard is absolutely appalling.

      • Roxane says:

        Starkiller@ Why do you keep talking about America? Nationalities weren’t the subject here. If you have a complex of inferiority because of your nationality, it’s on you.

        PS : Everyone aplauded JLaw when she started to own her ambition and I believe she’s american.

      • lobbit says:

        She has been eviscerated for her “ambition.” Just click on her tag in the article, read what’s been written about here – especially from commenters.

  6. SBS says:

    I think that as long as an actor or actress is talented enough it doesn’t really matter whether you know a lot or nothing at all about them – they disappear into the role.

    • ell says:

      i agree.

      that said, it should also be fine for an actor to say they want their private life to stay private, because they’re well, private. everyone seems to be pressured into being on social media and sharing everything they do, and if you’re not it’s weird. it’s annoying.

  7. Squiggisbig says:

    She is way too Anne Hathaway-esque in this. What’s so wrong with being a woman that just acknowledges being ambitious instead of the “oh gee! I just dreamed a little dream and it came true!”

    I’m also confused about the Fassy stuff. Can’t celebrities just have their PR ppl tell interviewers in advance they won’t discuss their relationship? Seems like a faux-burden she is complaining about although I’m sure once their movie together comes out there will be more of the same.

    • Lucy says:

      Not unless they’re huge, no. Most actors don’t have that kind of power. It depends on their agent and the publication, though.

      I’ve witnessed actresses being screamed at and verbally abused by journalists for refusing to answer questions. Also a lot of journalists flat out ignore that kind of request, or write nasty articles making all kinds of implications (“so-and-so demanded I not ask her any questions about her relationship despite flaunting her boyfriend at an awards ceremony – hypocritical diva” or “so-and-so insisted on censoring any mention of her partner – WHAT IS SHE HIDING” that sort of thing).

      • Minxx says:

        Well, I don’t know if it’s this complicated. When asked about Vikander, Fassbender simply said “nice talking to you” and moved to another journalist. Nobody said anything unpleasant about it. Seems to me that she wants to appear private and yet mentions his name to make sure it appears next to hers in print. Like she said she’ll have three films at the Oscars last year (when almost nobody knew her) and now she’s trying to say she never dreamed of being an actor in English-speaking world. She also has a language barrier when it suits her. Please.

  8. Kiki says:

    I find her “humility” s……….. refreshing. The fact that she never in her wildest dreams that she would be in a English movies and have such wonderful fame and fortunes. And dating a beautiful man who could potentially have her beautifully genetic European babies would be the icing on the cake. IT IS GOOD TO ALICIA VIKANDER.


  9. perplexed says:

    I don’t think she’s contradicting herself. Before the 3 films were actually in Oscar contention and she was toiling away in the ballet world, she probably didn’t think going abroad as an actor was a possibility. Her ambitions probably grew once things started rolling forward for her, and she knew for sure that she could make things happen. Isn’t that how most people evolve in their ambitions? When stuff starts becoming a legit possibility, you start dreaming bigger, but when you’re first starting out you probably have to keep a more narrow mindset in order to keep your sanity (which can be easily lost in an industry like Hollywood).

    • layla says:

      Yup! Said something similar above. (That now seems to be deleted. Ugh)

      Previously never dreaming of finding success in English films … And being an Oscar contender as recent as last year…… Both of these things can be true!

    • Alex says:

      I thought the same. By the time the interview last year came out there was massive buzz around the movies she was in so she wasn’t wrong. Before that she had no “name” in the biz. So it sounds genuine to me

    • J. says:

      Yeah,she’s talking about her first experiences in Sweden. She said something similar in another interview and she was talking about the time she left ballet.

  10. AlleyCat says:

    She said growing up that it wasn’t a realistic possibility. She’s from Sweden, so I bet that was a truthful statement. She’ll get criticized for not talking about dating Fassbender, but she’d get criticized if she did. I like her.

    • Minxx says:

      Yeah, she talks like she was raised in a fishing village where nobody spoke English. Her father is a psychiatrist, her mom is a stage actress in second largest city in Sweden, not exactly a Third World country. I find her so disingenuous.

  11. Jayna says:

    I liked her interview. What a beautiful cover of her. I didn’t find it false. She said when she started out. I imagine that’s true. You’re just trying to get your foot in the door in the country you reside in and are acting in, I would imagine, not some grand master plan.

    I’ve become a huge fan of her talent as an actress after seeing her in The Danish Girl recently.

  12. Locke Lamora says:

    I don’t think these things contradict themselves. She made the Oscar comment when she already made the movies. She was confident in them. I still don’t think she was spectacular in the Danish Girl, but kudos for ambition.
    Here she says she didn0t think she’ll be in American movies, which sounds true to me. When you’re from a small, non-English speaking country, Hollywood isn’t really a possibility. How many foreign actors from small countries have made it in Hollywood? Swedes and other Northern Europeans seem to make it because they can loose the accent, a few models here and there and a few others who are reduced to playing stereotypical ( often offensive) caricatures. But a handfull at best.

    • layla says:

      Agree completely.

      I’m originally form Australia… and even from an English speaking country, cracking “the US” market is a HUGE deal. Some artists (actors, musicians and the like) try, some succeed,some don’t… and some, don’t even dream of it.

      Now factor in coming from a non English speaking country and the US market would seem unattainable.

    • Isobel says:

      Good comment.

  13. Margo S. says:

    I loved her last point about never having screen time with a woman. It’s so true. We are all so used to it we don’t even notice. Now it’s starting to show up on people’s radar which is a great thing. Change is among us!

  14. Jus says:

    Ermm… I think she deserves A LOT of credit and recognition for doing English-language films and doing them so well. Can you imagine any American actresses doing foreign language (and winning awards)? Hmm??! I’ll wait for an example, I guess. She is an incredibly talented individual and frankly, a much-needed breath of fresh air.

    • Original T.C. says:

      She had to learn two different languages in addition to her native tongue and now successfully acts in all three. But because she’s pretty, confident and is in a relationship with the internet’s other favorite boyfriend she has to be reduced to “just another pretty face” or “boring”. Oh well.

      • J. says:

        +1000 I was particularly impressed by her work and her English in Testament of Youth. That was my favorite performance last year.

    • Starkiller says:

      Jodie Foster spoke French in Un long dimanche de fiançailles. Can’t be arsed to look up if she won any awards for it…probably not, as I’m sure you’d still be rioting to this day if she had. Also, several American actresses speak German on Orange is the New Black, but I’m sure you’ll find a way for that not to count, too.

      • Jus says:

        Rioting? WTF are you on about? No one is rioting about anything, I was pointing out that Alicia is a rare breed who excels in productions that are not her native tongue. Jennifer Lawrence isn’t doing that. Anne Hathaway isn’t doing that. Rooney Mara isn’t doing that.

      • SusanneToo says:

        You seem to have a real hate on for somebody but your posts are so confusing it’s hard to tell who that might be. Mind elucidating, Starkiller?

    • lallyvee says:

      Almost 90% of the people in Sweden speak English its compulsory in school. They don’t dub English movies and TV.

      • Minxx says:

        Of course. I think Americans forget that most educated Europeans can speak at least one, more often 2-3 languages.

    • Vero says:

      All north Europeans speak perfect English, nothing special. It is taught in school and in some countries even considered like a second language, especially in Holland or Sweden. And what other language are you referring too? Danish? That is close to Swedish, my friend…

  15. Mira says:

    That W interview doesn’t disprove what she said. Last year she had already moved to London and done those english speaking movies so at that point she knew she was headed for a hollywood type of career. I am assuming she may be talking about when she was younger. Our goals or visions can change over time.

  16. Lucy says:

    Don’t see anything wrong with it. I could and do say the exact same things about my own career (meaning, my perceptions of my own career and career potential have changed substantially over time).

  17. Rocío says:

    In a World where people like Taylor trashed other women (Camilla Belle, Katy Perry, etc) I’ll take Alicia’s faux humility. I rather read about ambitous people trying to be humble rather than backstabbing and mean girls problems.

    • Kiki says:

      you what @Rocio, I think I can agree with you on this one. Faux Humility beats mean girl problems. Which is why I don’t like any of the girls you mentioned but it is rewarding

  18. Goneblank says:

    I also don’t see a contradiction in the statements she has made. I find her openness about her career and ambition really refreshing. I’m a bit baffled by why she rubs so many people on this site the wrong way. The worst I reckon you can say about her is that she’s a bit dull in print interviews.

  19. Cat87 says:

    I still don’t think Alicia has cracked the U.S market. She still isn’t a big house hold name in my book. Just because she won an Oscar dosent mean she has truly made an impact in the U.S. I am glad that she said the Oscar was a pat on the back and not the grantee deal of stardom. She has the indie, international and independent movie critics buzzing. But the big franchise and big budget films….she haven’t achieve yet. So it makes sense now she wants to try it. I am all for her but don’t mask your ambitions, your behavior shows your intent. Good luck to her and becoming the next big thing. Today’s Hollywood will give foreign actress their moment but only a seldom few have glory in America.

  20. Janet says:

    I think she is an intelligent, classy and beautiful woman but I don’t find her extremely talented or interesting. I keep reading her magazine interviews though to see if she will prove me wrong. I’m not that turned off by the gloating comments she made last year. However, everytime I see her in films I think of how she’s good but a bit overrated. Granted, English is not her first language and she speaks it beautifully. However, I tend to think of all of the amazing women of color who lack the opportunity to be cast in films in general. Most WOC don’t ever get their big break or their screen time is extremely limited. They are forever the supporting actress, never the lead. Yet, Alicia and Jennifer Lawrence are in their 20s and are so lucky to be allowed the opportunity to flourish. That’s a whole different can of worms though. Sorry for the rambling. I do wish her the best and hope she will prove me wrong.

    • Roxane says:

      I think you’re completly right in your comment towards WOC woman, but I wouldn’t have taken Vikander as an example considering how hard it must be for an actress from Sweden to succed in Hollywood. Her first movies in the U.S were obtained from disclaimers and she then conviced producers. However, I agree with you on the lack of oportunity, recently we’ve seen some changes (I think of Marvel) we’ll see in the future.

  21. anon says:

    lmao yes you did. You tried too hard actually. I can’t stand her for some reason, I’ve tried so hard to like her but it’s impossible

  22. SKF says:

    I think her comments about never getting to act opposite women are the most interesting take away here but no one seems interested in it :(

    I think she’s talented. Very subtle and delicate on screen. She’s a bit flat in magazines, interviews, etc. but that doesn’t bother me at all.