We barely talk about Alicia Vikander or her husband Michael Fassbender anymore. Which is on purpose, on their part. They went away. They moved to Portugal, they took time off from the movie-making grind, they started a family, and they rarely give interviews these days. I genuinely wonder if Fassbender is going to even act that much in the future, and whether it will fall to Alicia to be the “breadwinner” for the family. Alicia covers the latest issue of Harper’s Bizarre UK to promote Irma Vep, a series written and directed by Olivier Assayas. She plays an American film star named Mira who comes to Paris to star as Irma Vep in a remake of Les Vampires. It is, I suppose, self-referential and a movie-within-a-series and also. Assayas is basically redoing his own cult-favorite film. Alicia spoke to Bazaar UK about the pandemic, getting pregnant and a lot more – go here to read the full piece. Some highlights:
She’s in favor of on-set intimacy coaches: “The only thing that can’t be improvised is an intimate scene – you have to make choreography and stick to it. It’s the worst thing ever to do those scenes. I am very comfortable with my body and I’ve done quite a bit of nudity and sex scenes, but it’s never easy.” The coaches, she says, “should have existed at the beginning of my career. I’ve been in situations that were not fine, where I didn’t feel I was protected.” She describes one occasion on a set where “everyone was busy doing their own thing and, in the middle, you have an actor who sits there naked for a couple of hours. And someone is supposed to arrive with a robe, and they don’t. It comes afterwards – [the knowledge that] that was not right. I should have been looked after.”
Her female friendships: “I am really attracted to them. Very often, when I see them, I’m like, ‘Woah, she’s so impressive!’ With all my closest girlfriends, I had that first-love moment and I said to myself, ‘I need to be with that person.’ It’s another kind of love. I’ve never wanted to go to bed with a woman, but I’ve definitely had a spark and a magic and a rawness that is intense.”
She’s not sentimental when it comes to possessions. “I don’t own much,” she says. When she travels, she packs light, with one suitcase containing perhaps “two pairs of jeans and three sweaters”. Her son “has much more stuff than me right now”.
Where she spent the pandemic: Vikander and Fassbender lived together in their house in the Basque country in France, and to begin with, she recalls, “there was obviously quite a lot of fear. But I was very fortunate that all my loved ones were fine. And it was the first time I was at home for that long since I was 19. That was quite a blessing, in the end.”
Starting a family: “I tried to get pregnant for a while. So I had tough times during lockdown. I struggled for a while. You saw me now… And I kind of stopped and thought, ‘Am I going to talk about this?’ But I think it’s universal and so many women go through similar things. And it’s tough. I didn’t think I even wanted children, actually, until I was 30.” It was the experience of having a miscarriage that brought home to her how much she wanted to be a mother. “For a while I didn’t think that I could get pregnant.” But now she has her baby, she finds she has changed “in every way. It’s life. It’s so profound.”
The pandemic routine: The pandemic was “a chance for my husband and me to be at home, just cooking. We had a routine. We worked and we met up with five other families on Zoom and worked out Monday to Friday together.” Since the regulations in France at the time were draconian, involving carrying a passport every time you left the house, they stayed at home much of the time, enjoying their garden, reading plays, watching films and “falling in love with movies again”.
I feel like the “I don’t own much” thing is very Swedish? Alexander Skarsgard says that kind of sh-t in his interviews too, and it just feels like it’s pretty pervasive in Swedish culture, or maybe pervasive specifically in Swedish artist/actor communities, this whole “I don’t need to own anything” or “it’s showy and braggy to own nice things.” Like, it’s a bracelet not a PhD thesis on capitalism. I also wonder why they decided to ride out the pandemic in France, especially given that they bought a place in Portugal, right? I wonder if they were affected by all of the lockdowns and EU border issues? Hm. Anyway, Alicia, Michael and the Fassbaby sound like they’re doing fine.
Cover and IG courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar UK.