The Danish Girl’s Alicia Vikander on Finding What to Play in Her Characters

Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl

“I don’t think so much about whether I’m playing a strong person or not – it’s not that the character needs to be loud or straightforward” – Alicia Vikander

Over a decade ago Alicia Vikander got her first role in a TV movie, but it wasn’t until 2015 that American audiences started to take notice. Now she’s up for a Golden Globe and possibly nominated for an Oscar for her role as Gerda Wegener in The Danish Girl. Her costar, Eddie Redmayne, is the frontrunner for Best Actor but only time will tell if they’ll both be winners. For now the 27-year-old actress is just taking everything in. “I was brought up in a small country. If you made a Swedish film that just got into a film festival somewhere, that was like the biggest thing you could wish for,” she told The Guardian.

The Danish Girl tells the true story of artist Einar Wegener preparing to undergo one of the first sex-change operation with the support of his wife, Gerda. Vikander and Redmayne star as the wife and husband and kill it, and she was thrilled to play such a provoking role. “I don’t think so much about whether I’m playing a strong person or not – it’s not that the character needs to be loud or straightforward. It can be a fragile, flawed person, but if they have enough dimension, and depth that you understand them even at their weakest, that’s a strong character to me. Then you have something to play, and play with. It’s about not being ‘the girl.’”

She went on to talk about the importance of women in lead roles. “There’s a change happening, and I want to be part of that. I’m so new, I’ve only been reading scripts for a few years on the international market, but you see something like The Hunger Games or Insurgent proving that a female role can carry a successful blockbuster, and that means something. You begin to feel their effect. When people in the industry and in the media are acknowledging the issue and talking about it, then you begin to look around and realise what needs to be done.”

With all the buzz surrounding her name, Vikander wants to remain a little unknown. She explained, “I like mystery. I like not knowing about my favourite actresses and actors. I love seeing Meryl Streep up there and knowing so little about who she is outside of what she’s playing on screen. But I meet journalists and even young girls who say, ‘Oh, we just want to know more about you.’ I guess it’s become another character, a role in a way, for actors to play – this version of themselves to present to them. But it is a made-up idea of who you are.”

She may have a hard time keeping herself out of the limelight when The Danish Girl opens nationwide Christmas Day.

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