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Actress Spotlight: Alicia Vikander

"The new queen of the costume drama"

Swedish actress Alicia Vikander is one of biggest emerging actresses around, having won and been nominated for a number of awards. She has a busy 2015 ahead of her with six movies set to be released, ranging from potential blockbusters to prestigious historical movies. Her latest movie, Testament of Youth is on the festival circuit, so let us look at the talented young woman.

Vikander was born in Sweden’s second biggest city, Gothenburg, the daughter to respected Swedish stage actress Maria Fahl-Vikander. Vikander trained as a dancer at the Royal Swedish Ballet School in Stockholm for nine years and appeared in a number of musicals at The Göteborg Opera before changing careers.
alicia vikander - pure
Vikander started her acting career by appearing in a number of short films and television roles in her native Sweden before landing her first major role in 2007 in the Swedish drama/soap opera Andra Avenyn (‘Second Avenue’ in English). She appeared in 39 episodes of the first series in the Gothenburg based programme before her character was written out.

Vikander first gained attention for her film work when she starred in Pure. She starred as Katarina, a 20-year-old high school dropout with an alcoholic mother who falls in love with classical music and takes a job at The Göteborg Opera. But Katarina also embarks on an affair with a married conductor. Vikander won a number of awards for her performance, winning the Rising Star Award at the 2010 Stockholm Film Festival, the Shooting Star Award at the Berlin International Film Festival and the Guldbagge Award for Best Actress, Sweden’s highest acting award.
alicia vikander - a royal affair
Vikander gained international attention when she had a costume drama double-whammy in 2012 appearing in both A Royal Affair and Anna Karenina. A Royal Affair was a critically well received Danish movie. Vikander starred alongside Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale) as Caroline Matilda of Great Britain, Queen of Denmark and Norway who has an affair with the royal physician and political radical and embarks on a revolution to change the country. A Royal Affair won two Silver Bears at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Anna Karenina was Vikander’s first English language movie and she appeared with an ensemble cast, including Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Domhnall Gleeson. Directed by Joe Wright (Pride and Prejudice, Atonement), Anna Karenina was a visually glorious and ambitious movie, but it was met with a mixed reception, including here.
alicia vikander - anna karenina
Vikander’s 2012 was capped off when she was named as 10 Actors to Watch at the 20th Hamptons International Film Festival and nominated for the BAFTA Rising Star Award alongside Andrea Riseborough, Elizabeth Olsen and eventual winner Juno Temple. She also won the Editor’s Choice Award at the 2013 Elle Style Awards.

2013 was a quieter year for Vikander, appearing in a supporting role in Benedict Cumberbatch’s The Fifth Estate and the Swedish drama Hotell. Hotell was well received, earning four Guldbagge Award nominations and Vikander won the Best Actress Award at the 2013 Marrakech International Film Festival.
a testament of youth - alicia vikander as a nurse
After her successful year in 2012, Vikander became an in-demand actress and had a number of projects lined up. One of them is the World War One drama Testament of Youth based on Vera Brittain’s autobiography, a nurse during the war. Testament of Youth premiered at the London Film Festival as a part of The Centrepiece Gala. Vikander earned high praise for her stoic performance as a determined woman who joins the British war effort as a nurse out of a sense of duty and ends up suffering great tragedy as she bares witness to the horrors of war. Vikander has already earned a nomination for Best Actress for a British Independent Film Award (BIFA).

Along with Testament of Youth, Vikander has four movies due out for release in 2015. The Australian crime-thriller Son of a Gun has already been released in Australia and set to come out in other nations during the end of 2014 and throughout 2015. She stars alongside another rising star, Brenton Thwaites (Oculus, The Giver) and Ewan McGregor. She will reunite with her Anna Karenina co-star Domhnall Gleeson in Alex Garland’s directional debut Ex Machina, where Vikander plays the world’s first self-aware robot and a scientific breakthrough in a highly anticipated sci-fi thriler.
alicia vikander - ex machina
Vikander will also appear in two big budget movies. The first is Seventh Son, an adaptation of The Wardstone Chronicles fantasy novels and its cast features Ben Barnes (The Chronicles of Narnia series), Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore and her Testament of Youth co-star Kit Harington. But the movie has been held back for two years, hardly a promising sign. The other is the action-comedy The Man from U.N.C.L.E., an adaptation of the popular 60s show of the same name. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was directed by Guy Ritchie and Vikander is set to star with Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer and Hugh Grant.

Vikander is also lined up to star in four movies with big name directors and cast members. Three of them are currently filming, the historical drama Tulip Fever which also stars Dane DeHaan, Christoph Waltz, Holliday Grainger and Judi Dench, directed by Justin Chadwick (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom) and scripted by Sir Tom Stoppard, a comedy-drama from director John Wells (August: Osage County), writer Steven Knight and starring Bradley Cooper and an adaptation of the novel The Light Between Oceans with Michael Fassbender and Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine, The Place Beyond the Pines) directing. She is also set to star in The Danish Girl which is currently in pre-production. It will star Les Misérables‘ Eddie Redmayne and directed by Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Misérables).

At 26 years of age Vikander already has an impressive filmography and she has worked with many talented filmmakers and actors. She has been very careful, choosing mostly to appear in classy and prestigious projects and if she can keep it up, Vikander will have a long and successful career.

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