Alicia Vikander Talks 'The Green Knight,' Magic of 80s Fantasy Films, 'Man from U.N.C.L.E.' and More [The Fourth Wall #36]

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Before even turning thirty, Alicia Vikander had already starred in the sci-fi thriller “Ex Machina,” teamed up with Matt Damon in “Jason Bourne,” was in pre-production as the lead in the reboot of the action franchise “Tomb Raider,” and had won an Academy Award for her performance in “The Danish Girl.” Whether it be the three projects she has coming out this year, her marriage to fellow actor (and former co-star) Michael Fassbender, or time spent enjoying life’s simple pleasures, Vikander remains one of the busiest and most underrated gems in the industry. Continuing to showcase her range, the actor switches gears for her latest film, “The Green Knight.” Based on the poem and Arthurian legend, “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,” this medieval fantasy follows Dev Patel as Sir Gawain, the nephew of King Arthur, as he goes on an epic quest in pursuit of the Green Knight. The film challenges many themes laced in lore, such as honor, nobility, questions of identity, and worthiness to become a legend. Vikander plays dual roles as Essel and The Lady and is treated to a showstopping monologue that makes for one of the film’s greatest moments.

Vikander had long been a fan of the film’s director, David Lowery, and had met him prior to being offered a part. But when she was sent the script, she wasn’t asked by Lowery to read for any specific part. It wasn’t until the end of the casting process that she was asked to play two roles. At that time, he introduced her to the legend of Sir Gawain and the modifications he made to the original material, namely, Vikander’s soliloquy about the color green.

The film not only takes on the challenge of modernizing a 700-plus-year-old poem but manages to capture the essence of a great adventure movie through Lowery’s direction. Vikander views it as a coming-of-age story. While it’s not without its Arthurian hallmarks, there is a meditative and cerebral approach to the philosophy of morality (Lowery regulars are all too familiar) that aids in putting a unique spin on the genre. This question caused Vikander to reflect on her own life and status.

One of Vikander’s earlier breakout roles was in Guy Ritchie’s sleek spy flick, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” While packing a star-studded cast, including Henry Cavill and Elizabeth Debicki, and vibrant, kinetic spy action, the film, unfortunately, struggled to find an initial audience tanking its franchise potential. Since then, the film has gained quite a cult following, with fans expressing interest in a sequel. Vikander looks back fondly on making the film and loved how it captured the look and feel of the 60s. While a follow-up remains up in the air, she’s happy that people are finding it and enjoying it, even if it’s years later.

During my conversation with Vikander, we also get into the magic of 80s fantasy films and how “The Green Knight” recaptures that magic, her love of genre, “Ex Machina,” and much more!

Don’t miss “The Green Knight” when it hits theaters on July 30.

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