You wonder if you’re good, if you have what it takes.You carry an anxiety around with you—I’ve met many actors now who will say this—and the lonely feeling that this could be your one chance.”Tom Hooper’s , have already earned her Golden Globe nominations.) Though the film tells the story of Lili Elbe (played by Eddie Redmayne), a Danish artist who in the early 1930s underwent the first known gender-confirmation surgery, it is in equal measure the story of Lili’s wife, Gerda, who grapples with the loss of her husband but grows to become Lili’s closest ally and fiercest advocate.In the last year she has had six films in American theaters, including , costarring her real-life boyfriend, Michael Fassbender, are due to arrive this year.Come summer, she’ll star opposite Matt Damon in the next Bourne installment.“To be quite honest, it’s nerve-racking, the way these films sort of piled up,” she says. I suppose I was expecting a suited chauffeur with a joyless expression to match my own, his starlet cargo waiting behind tinted windows.But when I opened the gate, there was Alicia Vikander in black leggings and cross-trainers, her familiar face, with its deeply golden complexion and wide-set brown eyes, looking stricken.
A few weeks earlier the Swedish actress had suggested that we go skydiving after I threw out some rather tame ideas for a Los Angeles playdate—a game of tennis, a visit to a nearby farmer’s market, a sunny hike in the Palisades.But I think it’s important to remember that the issues Lili encountered 100 years ago are still issues.You read the statistics about how trans people are physically and psychologically abused, how they are discriminated against at work.This is a civil rights movement.”Hooper had seen Vikander in and invited her to read with Redmayne, who had already signed on. “Eddie saw me crying after the scene ended,” he recalls, “and he said to me later, ‘Well, there’s no great suspense around who you’re going to cast.’ The only other person who’s overpowered me in an audition that way was Annie Hathaway when she came in to read for .” If there was any early obstacle, it may have been Alicia’s coloring: She is not the ice sculpture that Hollywood often imagines for its Nordics.Again and again, she has been asked to wear long sleeves and SPF 100 in order to help the makeup department conjure the desired pallor. Here I go, exploding stereotypes.”Old friends like to talk about Alicia’s goofiness, her devilishness, her tendency, guard lowered, to be the loudest person at the table, or in the karaoke room, or on the lawn in Beachwood Canyon where Swedish Angelenos like to play , an old Viking version of horseshoes.