This Star Said She Didn't Feel "Protected" Filming Intimate Scenes
Oscar winner Alicia Vikander opened up about an uncomfortable situation early in her career.
At 33, Swedish actor Alicia Vikander is already an experienced Hollywood star. She has her first Oscar, for 2015's The Danish Girl; has dabbled in everything from sci-fi (Ex-Machina), to drama (The Light Between Oceans), to action (Tomb Raider); and is married to another famous performer, Michael Fassbender. So while she's still quite young, Vikander has a significant amount of career to look back on, and not all of it is full of fond memories. In a recent interview with Harper's Bazaar, Vikander opened up about the process of filming intimate scenes, and how it's changed—for the better—over the years that she's been working. Read on to find out why she says she feels like she wasn't "protected" when she exposed her body onscreen early in her career.
Vikander doesn't mind disrobing onscreen.
If the star were flat-out against taking on intimate scenes, it seems like she wouldn't agree to do them. Even so, she isn't totally at ease whenever the moment arrives.
"It's the worst thing ever to do those scenes," she told Harper's. "I am very comfortable with my body and I've done quite a bit of nudity and sex scenes, but it's never easy."
She thinks intimacy coordinators have an important job.
In recent years, intimacy coordinators have become more prevalent on film and TV sets. Their job is to help choreograph movements and facilitate conversations among actors and between actors and production to make sure that everyone is safe and comfortable filming sensitive scenes. With the help of an intimacy coordinator, no one can be surprised by what they're being asked to do or feel pressured into doing something that they didn't think they would have to.
Vikander sees the value of these professionals, noting to Harper's, "The only thing that can't be improvised is an intimate scene–you have to make choreography and stick to it."
She added that she wishes the practice of hiring an intimacy coordinator was more popular when she began acting. "I've been in situations that were not fine, where I didn't feel I was protected," she said.
One experience in particular was "not right."
To the magazine, Vikander recounted a story, without naming what she was filming at the time, in which she was left exposed after the scene because no one was available to help her.
In this case, she said, "everyone was busy doing their own thing and, in the middle, you have an actor who sits there naked for a couple of hours." She continued, "And someone is supposed to arrive with a robe, and they don't. It comes afterwards—[the knowledge that] that was not right. I should have been looked after."
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She's also aware that women are underrepresented onscreen.
In a similar vein to her experience with intimacy coordinators, it took experiencing something a different way for Vikander to realize how the industry was falling short in gender equality. Speaking to The Guardian back in 2015, the actor recalled filming a scene with a co-star on her then-upcoming movie, Tulip Fever.
"Of course I've had a run of great opportunities and characters to play, but I was shooting this scene with Holliday Grainger that just felt like something new," she said. "It just came so easily, and we were having so much fun. And only when we were chatting afterwards did I suddenly realize why: I'd just made five films in a row, and this was the first one where I had a scene with another woman."
"Women talking together—apparently it is a reality!" she added. "Who knew?"