Lhe Sky TV series reinterprets a cornerstone film by Olivier Assayas, Irma Vep, with continuous parallels with the director’s life and observations on the state of cinema. He is the protagonist Alicia Vikander but in the last episode there is a special guest: the beloved Kristen Stewart.
Alicia Vikander is the protagonist of Irma Vep, the tv series Sky presented at the last Cannes Film Festival. She plays the role of an iconic cinematic femme fatale who, tired of blockbuster roles, accepts the lead role in a television remake of a cult film. In what is a real narrative short circuit, the actress is also present in the last episode Kristen Stewartsought and wanted by the director Carlos Assayas.
Five roles in one
It has been 25 years since screenwriter Olivier Assayas signed and directed Irma Vep, a small French independent film. The story at the heart of that film has now become the TV series Irma Vep, available on Sky from August 3 and already offered in the United States by HBO. Consisting of eight episodes, Irma Vep see the Oscar winner Alicia Vikander in the role of Mira Harberg move in what is in all respects a satire of the world of Hollywood (and beyond).
Mira Harber is an actress by profession. She has reached the pinnacle of success playing the protagonist of some blockbusters based on superheroes. Tired of roles that no longer gratify her, Mira flies to Paris to put her career back on a more authorial path. She then agrees to play a remake of The vampiresa 1915 episodic film that has become a classic of French cinema.
As she prepares to assume the role of the iconic criminal dressed as a cat Irma Vep (acronym of the word vampire), Mira finds herself reluctantly living on a more chaotic set than expected due to director René Vidal (Vincent Macaigne) on the verge of a breakdown.
“I loved the 1997 movie,” said Vikander, who is best known for films like The Danish Girl And Tomb Rider but also for being the partner of sex symbol Michael Fassbender. “I too have starred in blockbusters but I’m always on the lookout for auteur films that can highlight my qualities. So I know the state of mind of Mira, the protagonist. However, don’t expect Irma Veo to be your usual behind-the-scenes story. There is much less glamor and more realism”.
“It was like playing five roles in one, putting them all together like a sort of matryoshka doll,” the actress joked. How to blame her? The Sky TV series Irma Vep it’s basically a remake of a film about the making of a remake of yet another film.
Between cinema and private life
Irma Vep, the film that forms the basis of the Sky TV series of the same name, starred the actress Maggie Cheung who, originally from Hong Kong, has established herself in Western cinema. Director Carlos Assayaswhich also would have wanted Cheung in the cast of the TV series, has always had the intention of reworking the story of that film but has now opted for a completely new language to tell some very personal aspects.
Cheung and Assayas got married sometime after the shooting of the film ended, in 1998. However, they divorced in 2001, a circumstance that ended up affecting the history of the TV series. “My perception of the film’s story has changed since I made it. I was able to see how cinema and private life intertwine and influence each other”.
Not surprisingly, René Vidal, the director played by Vincent Macaigne, none other than an alter ego of Assayas himself, and the mysterious Jade that of Maggie Cheung.
Irma Vep: The photos of the TV series
Kristen Stewart in the last episode
The latest episode of Irma Vep, the TV series proposed by Sky from 3 August, has an exceptional guest: actress Kristen Stewart. After all, the story of Irma Vep it looks a lot like the parable of the beloved Kristen who, at the height of success for the Twilight saga, began to choose increasingly authorial projects, some of which were directed by Carlos Assayas (Personal Shoppers And Clouds of Sils Maria). It is therefore not surprising that, although he chose Alicia Vikander, the director also thought of her for the role of the protagonist.
In Irma Vep, Stewart plays Lianna, a pop star who was once romantically involved with Eamonn (Tom Sturridge), Mira’s ex-boyfriend. In the previous episodes, Mira shows a lot of curiosity towards Lianna and every question of her can find an answer when Lianna is in Paris for a concert.