You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Vikander: ‘Pure’ actress finds innocent side

10 Actors to Watch 2012: Alicia Vikander

Alicia Vikander revels in pushing her limits.

“I love when I am outside my comfort zone,” explains Vikander, who plays young, innocent, lovelorn Kitty in Joe Wright’s upcoming Russian drama “Anna Karenina.” “I question myself: Can I really do it? I love the kicks in this profession — the extreme highs and lows. I’m addicted to those kicks.”

The lush production is the first English-language film for the Swedish native, whose passion for stepping into unfamiliar territory has paid off big time.

Her breakthrough role was as a girl with a borderline personality in the 2010 Swedish indie “Pure,” a role for which she won Sweden’s official film award (the Guldbagge) for best actress.

She continued challenging herself in bigger European features.

“In ‘A Royal Affair’ I had to learn to act like a queen and learned Danish,” Vikander says. “It’s so much different to act in another language. It’s the nuances in the words.”

The daughter of a stage actress, Vikander tuned in to the subtleties of language at an early age. “From the time I was 2, if my mother couldn’t get a babysitter I slept in the wings,” she recalls. “I could watch a play 1,000 times and not get bored. I learned all the lines.”

Dance, however, was her passion. She trained for nine years at the Royal Swedish Ballet Academy before leaving due to injuries. Still, “The first thing I work on is the physicality of the character,” Vikander says.

That finesse is apparent in “Anna Karenina” in the shy grace she brings to ballroom dance sequences and the subtle way her body tenses when her lover enters the room.

Her next release is “The Seventh Son,” an 18th century thriller that wrapped in June and is set for a 2013 release. Vikander plays half-witch Alice Deane, opposite Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore.

The adventurous actress is currently in Sweden shooting indie “Hotel,” which is being directed by “Pure” helmer Lisa Langseth. “After that,” she says, “I’ll head to England or the U.S. to audition.”

Lucky break: Meeting Langseth. “She gave me a fantastic script at an early age. It was a Swedish independent film but it traveled.”

Favorite films: “Tree of Life,” Michael Haneke’s “Love,” “We Need to Talk About Kevin” and “The Piano Teacher.” “I love to have a physical reaction when I watch a film.”

Career would you like to emulate: Tilda Swinton, Isabelle Huppert, and Julianne Moore. “They take risks. Julianne can do big films but still go to Europe or do tiny independents.”

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • US record producer The-Dream arrives for

    Top Music Publishers Come Together for Songs of Hope Honors

    The 15th annual Songs of Hope honors united songwriters, music industry insiders and more than a few preeminent doctors at producer Alex Da Kid’s Sherman Oaks compound on Thursday night. Jimmy Jam returned to host the event, which served as a fundraiser for the ever-vital City of Hope medical treatment center as well as a [...]

  • Renee Zellweger Rufus Wainwright Sam Smith

    Renée Zellweger: Judy Garland Was 'My Childhood Hero'

    Awards buzz is building around Renée Zellweger for her performance as Judy Garland, emerging as a frontrunner in the Oscar race for best actress. But for her, the real prize was paying tribute to Garland, of whom she’s been a lifelong fan. “Nobody was prettier, nobody sang prettier…the adventures she had, [she was] my childhood [...]

  • Keke Palmer BlogHer19 Summit

    Keke Palmer Brought to Tears Accepting Truth Teller Award at #BlogHer19 Creators Summit

    Keke Palmer stood surprised and wide-mouthed on the #BlogHer19 Creators Summit stage as she was presented with the Truth Teller Award for her recent acting work — and her viral “sorry to this man” clip. “This means so much,” the multi-hyphenated star softly whispered as she got teary-eyed upon accepting the award. Last week, the [...]


    Emmys 2019: Inside All the Hottest Pre-Parties

    It’s (Emmys) party time! Before the 71st annual Emmys go live on Sunday, stars and execs are keeping busy by party-hopping in the days leading up to the big show. Here, Variety gives you the inside details on who was where and what they were doing. Keep checking back right here throughout the weekend for [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez Green Dress

    Jennifer Lopez Closes Out Versace Show in Famous Green Grammys Dress

    Jennifer Lopez has found her way back into the Versace dress that broke the internet in 2000. The “Hustlers” star closed out Versace’s Spring 2020 show in a re-worked version of the revealing, bright green silk chiffon dress that she wore to the Grammy Awards 20 years ago. The dress quickly became a pop-culture phenomenon, [...]

  • 10 Storytellers to Watch

    Variety Celebrates Inaugural 10 Storytellers to Watch Event

    Storytellers from across the spectrum of entertainment — film, literature, podcasting and play writing — were honored Thursday at Variety’s inaugural 10 Storytellers to Watch luncheon at Gramercy Park Hotel, hosted with partner the Independent Filmmaker Project and presented by Audible. Honorees Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of “Friday Black”; “Limetown” podcasters Zack Akers and Skip Bronkie; [...]

  • Demi Moore Corporate Animals

    Demi Moore Teases Upcoming Memoir 'Inside Out,' Talks 'Corporate Animals' Team Bonding

    As Demi Moore gears up for the Sept. 24 release of her autobiography “Inside Out,” the actress says she feels like a weight has been lifted. “Even the stuff that I may have been nervous about is completely lifting…because it’s a process,” Moore told Variety at the premiere of her upcoming film “Corporate Animals” at [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content