Friday, June 19, 2015

Ex Machina's Alicia Vikander leaves Tom Hanks in 'The Circle'

Originally published April, 1015
While Alicia Vikander hasn't quite achieved household name status yet, she soon will. She might even eclipse Jennifer Lawrence as the 'it girl'. Now there's a term no one uses anymore but you get my drift; things tend to go in waves in Hollywood, new stars are discovered, raised up to be adored, written about, photographed, adulated, ad nauseum, and then, depending on their talent, left to carry on or wither when the next big thing comes along. Vikander is the next big thing and seems to have the talent to carry on when the wafting wanes. She's remarkable as AVA, the AI in Ex Machina currently playing in theaters—I saw the movie this past weekend and was blown away by her performance as well as that of Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac in Alex Garland's intriguing but ultimately terrifying story about a man who must decide if a robot has achieved sentience—and she was so good I'm eager to see her upcoming projects. 



First up, we have Vikander in Testament of Youth opposite Game of
 Throne's Kit Harington. Based on the World War I memoir by Vera Brittain; I shared the trailer last October, the movie is finally getting a limited release here in the US on June 5th. And due out this fall is The Light Between Oceans based on the deeply moving M.L. Stedman novel. I've just finished the book, the story of a lighthouse keeper, Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender) and his young wife Isabel (Vikander) who take in a baby that washes up on their coast, and the ripple effects of that decision. I'll try to get my thoughts on the book into some sort of shape for you soon but it's one of those haunting stories that stays with you, nagging and painful like a sore tooth. 



Also due out sometime this year, again most likely in the fall, is Tulip Fever based on the Deborah Moggach book about a beautiful young woman, her much older husband (Christoph Waltz) and the attraction that develops between the young wife and the young artist (Dane DeHaan) hired to paint their portrait. It's set in the 17th century with the crazy tulip market as a backdrop; I read the book back in the spring of 2012 and wrote about it here. I was fairly meh about Moggach's novel but the movie sounds great. 


Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl

Vikander has also wrapped production on Adam Jones with an A-list cast that includes J'Law's leading man, Bradley Cooper, plus Jamie Dornan, Emma Thompson, Sienna Miller, and Lily James, slated for October 2. Then there's The Danish Girl where she's an artist married to Lili Elba (Eddie Redmayne) one of the first transgender people to undergo sex reassignment surgery. I shared the first picture of Redmayne as Elba back in February. Vikander also has the highly anticipated The Man from U.N.C.L.E. with Hugh Grant and possibly David Beckham in the hopper. See what I mean? Some of you may not know her name yet but after this year it will be impossible not to. 



Now, with all that in mind, Vikander has just signed on to costar opposite Tom Hanks in the James Ponsoldt-helmed adaptation of Dave Eggers The Circle. This is the second time Hanks is teaming with Eggers by the way; he also stars in the upcoming adaptation of Egger's Hologram for the King, directed by Tom Twyker.  I've not read The Circle yet but Deadline reports the novel "focuses on a young woman who is hired for a big job in an Internet monopoly called the Circle, which links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. The book turns into contemporary thriller about the perils of life in a digital age where personal data is collected, sifted and monetized and used for surveillance, rendering privacy obsolete."

Sounds like a terrifying reminder about our rapidly-changing world. Shooting on The Circle will start in August here in California. 

UPDATED: 6/19/2016 
Vikander has officially dropped out of the project, and is in talks to join beau Fassbender on Assassin's Creed as well as Matt Damon on the next Bourne movie. Emma Watson is now in talks to join the Circle.

Talk about squaring a circle, the film combines big budget old Hollywood (Hanks), sharp indie director (Ponsoldt helmed The Spectacular Now) and the newest face in film (Vikander) who, if things go as they usually do, should be getting a cosmetic or fragrance contract soon. 




Not to be all braggy but I picked out both Vikander and Domhnall Gleeson as two of the positives in the disappointing Anna Karenina back in 2013. She clearly has a penchant for moody period pieces—although Ex Machina is anything but—so I'm curious to see what next year's schedule brings. Oh, and if her ethereal beauty and her brilliant career isn't enough, the 27 year old Swedish actress is currently attached to dishy Michael Fassbender. Love her? Hate her? You tell me.


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