As Lara Croft in “Tomb Raider,” Alicia Vikander just carried out a search for her sea-snatched father. The Oscar winner (“The Danish Girl”) will do the same in her next project, “Arden’s Wake: Tide’s Fall.” The 30-minute VR experience from San Francisco-based Penrose Studios premieres Friday at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Besides voicing the protagonist — a young girl in the post-apocalyptic future — Vikander executive produced the piece. “Meena’s character has a special spark, and I was immediately drawn to her when I experienced her in VR,” said Vikander in a statement. “The movie daringly brings up difficult situations while also allowing viewers to get quite close to the characters in such an immersive and emotional experience.”
“Arden’s Wake: Tide’s Fall” was proceeded by “Arden’s Wake: The Prologue,” a Tribeca 2017 debut. According to The Verge, said 15-minute exercise established that Meena and her father live in a cottage “built on top of an underwater future Manhattan,” and that Meena’s mother drowned in the unknown calamity that destroyed much of civilization. “Arden’s Wake: The Prologue” won the inaugural Best Virtual Reality Award at September’s Venice Film Festival.
Writer-director Eugene Chung oversaw both installments. “The added emotion, perspective and texture Alicia adds to the piece is new territory for the studio, as well as for the AR & VR storytelling industry overall,” said Chung, the Oculus VR veteran who founded Penrose and holds the title of its CEO. “We’re incredibly honored to have Alicia’s partnership in in this journey, and it is inspiring to work with her.”
A representative for Penrose told IndieWire via email that the prospect of further extending this series is “still something we’re exploring! ‘Arden’s Wake’ is our first episodic approach to VR and we’re still experimenting.”
Vikander is not the only A-list actress to lend her talents to VR as of late: two-time Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain narrated “Spheres: Songs of Spacetime,” the first in a three-part, Darren Aronofsky-produced episodic series acquired out of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival for a reported seven-figure price tag.
Vikarious, the production company formed by Vikander and her agent, Charles Collier, was announced weeks after she accepted her Academy Award in 2016. Its first feature, “Euphoria,” cast Vikander and Eva Green as traveling sisters. While “Euphoria” opened abroad in Vikander’s native Sweden and elsewhere, the movie has not yet received a North American release date.