The cabler has ordered “Irma Vep,” a limited series loosely based on on Assayas’ 1996 film of the same name, with Vikander in the lead role.
Assayas will write and direct the project which revolves around Mira (Vikander), an American movie star disillusioned by her career and a recent breakup, who comes to France to star as “Irma Vep” in a remake of the French silent film classic, “Les Vampires.” Set against the backdrop of a lurid crime thriller, Mira struggles as the distinctions between herself and the character she plays begin to blur and merge.
The original film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and starred Maggie Cheung as a fictionalized version of herself.
“When the opportunity arose to partner with Alicia and Olivier we jumped at the chance,” said Francesca Orsi, executive vice president of HBO programming in a statement. “Olivier is a master at weaving unique narratives imbued with levity and drama and Alicia is one of the most versatile, celebrated actors of our time. They have an undeniable, distinct vision for the reimagining of Olivier’s cult classic film, and we can’t wait to tell it with them.”
The series hails from A24, expanding the studio’s relationship with HBO which also extends to critical and audience darling “Euphoria.” The latter’s creator Sam Levinson is on board to executive produce alongside Assayas, Vikander, Sylvie Barthet, Ashley Levinson, Kevin Turen and Stuart Manashil.
News of the “Irma Vep” series comes almost exactly a month after it emerged that Vikander is eyeing a lead role in a “Dial M for Murder” anthology series, which she is developing at MGM/UA Television alongside “Boardwalk Empire” and “The Sopranos” alum Terence Winter.
“I have been a long-time admirer of Olivier and his work,” said Vikander. “I am very excited for us to work together, and to be a part of the expanded universe of his superb cult classic, ‘Irma Vep.’ There are a lot of brilliant people coming together and I am delighted to be partnering with HBO and A24 on this special project.”
“I am immensely grateful to Alicia, A24, and HBO for giving me the incredible opportunity to explore and expand Irma Vep in a series format,” added Assayas. “This is a comedy that will try and catch the zeitgeist the same way the original Irma Vep did, in a very different world, a very different era, that right now feels light years away.”
Vikander is represented by Tavistock Wood in the U.K., UTA and Actors in Scandinavia.