It's something of an understatement to say that Alicia Vikander has had a year to remember. The 24 year old Swedish actress, so memorable as the young Queen embarking on the eponymous scandal in A Royal Affair, the Danish movie nominated for Best Foreign Film at this year's Oscars; and as Kitty in Joe Wright's Anna Karenina, was recently announced shortlisted - by a jury including Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Kermode and our own Chris Hewitt - for this year's EE Rising Star Award, alongside Suraj Sharma, Andrea Riseborough, Juno Temple and Elizabeth Olsen. Vikander will find out if she's won the public vote at the BAFTAs on February 10. We spoke to her briefly recently to gauge her feelings on her incredible year, on Hollywood, and on a certain Austrian auteur...
Congratulations on your EE Rising Star nomination.
Thank you. I was overwhelmed when they called and gave me the news. I knew about the prize as I follow the other actors and actresses in the other years but I hadn't even pictured myself, that I could be any of them. I was really surprised but extremely happy. I met a few of them and have seen many of their films. I'm in good company.
If you couldn't vote for yourself, who would it be?
I think Andrea Riseborough is a fantastic actress, but as soon as I say one name, I have a hard time not saying another. All of them are fantastic.
Have you started a 'Vote for Alicia 2012' campaign?
That was the second thing I hadn't thought of. My team told me that people vote for this. I've always tried to keep myself quite anonymous. I'm not in that social media world. So I have my friends and family and people pushing it on their Twitter or Facebook or whatever, but I don't have any of those.
From the BAFTAs to the Oscars, it's going to be an interesting and surreal way to cap off a hectic two years for you.
It's been a lot of work and a lot of travelling, but I've felt so much passion for the work I've done and have enjoyed myself along the journey. It's become my everyday life in a way. If someone had told me I was going to do this just two and a half years ago, I wouldn't have believed them at all. I think now, having been to the Golden Globes and experienced that for the first time, that's one of the things that makes me understand I've been a part of this journey.
Have you met anyone on the awards circuit who made you nervous?
Yes, that's happened to me now. For the first real time in my life, I got starstruck. There was one man that I had my speech prepared for, meaning that if I met him one day, I'd tell him this. At one event I sat with the producer for A Royal Affair, and at the commercial I ran up to Nikolaj [writer/director of A Royal Affair], and the guy next to him turned and looked up at me and it was Michael Haneke. I just freaked out. I started to tell him that I had seen all his films and that I was 13 when I first saw The Piano Teacher, which is one of my favourite films. He had his translator with him, and I was talking too fast and too much and he couldn't understand a thing, apparently!
You saw The Piano Teacher when you were just 13?
It was one of those films that my mom, who's an actress, loved. It was on TV and I watched it without telling her, I think.
You didn't set out to be an actress, did you?
I went to ballet school for many years and I was on that strict path. But my mom was an actress so that's always been part of my upbringing and world. I've been to the theatre throughout my life. Why I quit was I realised I wanted to be an actress and that was my passion. It was a hard decision.
|Alicia Vikander in A Royal Affair|
You've made interesting choices so far. Are you avoiding Hollywood?
I would love to do more English-speaking films, whether it's in the UK or the US. The Wikileaks project is something I'm very glad I'm involved in because I wanted to do something more contemporary. If I find a big studio Hollywood project that has a great female role I could develop and which was challenging enough, I would love to be in that context, but it's hard to find the young female roles. But then I'm coming out in this film called The Seventh Son in November and that is one of those big Hollywood fantasy films. But I met Sergei Bodrov, the director, and had seen his film, Mongol, and I got to work with this fantastic cast, Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore.
Was Jeff taking many pictures on set?
He was. He was allowed to bring his camera everywhere. I went up to him and said, 'nobody else can have a camera on set, but you can?' He said, 'no, I always make a book of all of the cast which they can have afterwards', which is fantastic. I'm looking forward to seeing that.
What can you tell us about The Fifth Estate?
They started this week in Iceland, but this is going to be a film which will have a lot of controversy when it comes out because of the subject. I'm glad to be a part of a film that is going to have so much debate around itself and its subject. I'm excited.
Who do you play?
I'm Daniel's girlfriend. That's who I play. I can't say a lot of things right now.
Can you leak information from time to time?To vote for Alicia Vikander - or any of the other EE Rising Star nominees - simply visit www.ee.co.uk
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Maybe I can do it on Wikileaks! You can hide me as a source!