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Göteborg: Alicia Vikander – ‘In Acting You Learn All the Time’

The world’s new Lara Croft talks about producing, always learning, acting as hard work, and muscling up for ‘Lara Croft,’ in a Göteborg Festival masterclass

GOTEBORG, Sweden — “This job is basically hard work in many ways,” Alicia Vikander said Sunday on stage at Sweden’s Göteborg Festival. She has proved that in her still-brief career: During the last 10 years, the Swedish actress has played major roles in more than 30 feature and TV productions.

Vikander proved it again over the weekend at Göteborg where, as a guest of honor, she received a Nordic Honorary Dragon Award at Friday’s fest opening, then gave a masterclass on Sunday – having attended the Swedish premiere of her latest feature, director Lisa Langseth’s“Euphoria,” her third performance for Langseth.

This time round, Vikander and Eva Green play two sisters, seeking understanding after a conflictive relationship. “Euphoria” marks Vikander’s first film as a producer after, two years ago, she set up Vikarious Productions with her London-based agent Charles Collier, of Tavistock Wood.

“We plan to do another two in the next two years – currently we are considering a couple of projects, and I think I can be more specific in May,” Vikander explained on stage at Göteborg’s Stora Teatern, after the screening of ”Euphoria” in the festival’s Nordic Competition.

Vikander will shortly have two major international roll-outs: Norwegian director Roar Uthaug’s US adventure-actioner  ”Tomb Raider,” from March 18, where she has taken over the Lara Croft role from Angelina Jolie; and German director Wim Wenders’ romantic thriller ”Submergence,” from April 13, opposite Scottish actor James McAvoy.

”I am so fortunate that my job is my passion, and over the years I have realized I want to get into a film when it is still an idea, and not just receive the script on the first shooting day,” continued the only Swedish actress besides Ingrid Bergman to win an Oscar, for U.K. director Tom Hooper’s ”The Danish Girl.”

Vikander added: “You always need a good story to make a good film – everybody is still struggling to find them – still I have read many good scripts which turned out to become totally different from what you would expect. So I have learned to give more credit to the producer, director, photographer and editor than I used to.”

Originally trained as a dancer at the Royal Swedish Ballet School in Stockholm and the School of American Ballet in New York, Vikander started acting in shorts and television series; she made her feature debut in Langseth’s ”Pure” (2010) which earned her Sweden’s national Guldbagge award for Best Actress.

“In filmmaking, you learn all the time,” she recalled. “British actress Charlotte Rambling was also in ‘Euphoria,’ and I was sitting behind the monitor, when she shot her first scene. She seems to have kept all her ages in her life- She is a very thoughtful woman of almost 72, and she can act them all, from a little kid or a teenager to gracefully-aged.

For Vikander, ”this is what acting is also about – jumping into different memories, reviving former experiences. Some actors get their background from reading a lot of books, I prefer to go out and talk to people – and then I love to travel, I think I have visited more than 50 countries, and you always take something back you can use.”

She also practises meditation, which her father did at home – sometimes when he had had enough of taking care of his five children, Vikander said, he would go down into the basement and return after 20 minutes in better shape. When she was 15 years old, she joined a women’s course as the only participant under 45.

“Otherwise this job is basically hard work in many ways. To get a lead role in Danish director Nikolaj Arcel’s “A Royal Affair” (2012), which opened at the Berlinale and was later Oscar-nominated, I had to learn Danish in eight weeks. For “Tomb Raider” I trained so much that I put on six kilos of muscles.”

“I am now so lucky that I can more or less decide what I want to work with, otherwise success just gives you an illusion of glamour. My closest friends around me are the same I had some years ago, and my world in public is very different from real life – sometimes it is even difficult to reflect on it,” Vikander concluded.

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