Olivier Assayas and A24’s limited series adaptation of “Irma Vep” (which he teased to IndieWire back in May) is moving to HBO with Oscar winner Alicia Vikander set to star in the lead role and to executive produce the project. “Euphoria” creator Sam Levinson is also attached to HBO’s “Irma Vep” as an executive producer. Assayas’ “Irma Vep” feature film world-premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival and starred Maggie Cheung in the lead role.
“When the opportunity arose to partner with Alicia and Olivier we jumped at the chance,” HBO Programming executive vice president Francesca Orsi said in a statement. “Olivier is a master at weaving unique narratives imbued with levity and drama and Alicia is one of the most versatile, celebrated actors of our time. They have an undeniable, distinct vision for the reimagining of Olivier’s cult classic film, and we can’t wait to tell it with them.”
Per HBO’s new official synopsis, “Irma Vep” will “revolve around Mira (Vikander), an American movie star disillusioned by her career and a recent breakup, who comes to France to star as Irma Vep in a remake of the French silent film classic, ‘Les Vampires.’ Set against the backdrop of a lurid crime thriller, Mira struggles as the distinctions between herself and the character she plays begin to blur and merge. ‘Irma Vep’ reveals to us the uncertain ground that lies at the border of fiction and reality, artifice and authenticity, art and life.”
“I have been a long-time admirer of Olivier and his work,” Alicia Vikander said in a statement. “I am very excited for us to work together, and to be a part of the expanded universe of his superb cult classic, ‘Irma Vep.’ There are a lot of brilliant people coming together and I am delighted to be partnering with HBO and A24 on this special project.”
Assayas added in his own statement, “I am immensely grateful to Alicia, A24, and HBO for giving me the incredible opportunity to explore and expand ‘Irma Vep’ in a series format. This is a comedy that will try and catch the zeitgeist the same way the original ‘Irma Vep’ did, in a very different world, a very different era, that right now feels light years away.”
“Irma Vep” will debut on HBO and be available to stream on HBO Max.