“Irma Vep” lead star Alicia Vikander detailed how Stewart’s cameo came to be, telling Entertainment Weekly that Stewart’s role was “always what Olivier had in mind” for the Oscar nominee. Stewart plays Lianna, a pop star who is romantically involved with the former lover of Mira (Vikander). Lianna suffers a miscarriage while on tour.
Per EW, Stewart’s own life offscreen is what, in part, inspired elements of Mira in the miniseries reimagining of Assayas’ 1996 film of the same name. Stewart previously collaborated with Assayas on the Cesar Award-winning “Clouds of Sils Maria” and 2017’s “Personal Shopper.”
“He knew it was a small part and they know each other very well, but it was more about writing it though he didn’t know if she’d say yes to come and join us,” Vikander explained of Stewart’s role.
While on set, Vikander and Stewart bonded over home decor: “I remember we talked about furniture!” Vikander said, adding that both stars were “finish[ing] up our homes” at the time.
“I adore her, she’s so cool,” Vikander said. “I’m an admirer of the work she’s done, especially the work she’s done with Olivier. It was wonderful that she came and wanted to be part of this little film. She brought a happy energy, and it goes with the sense that Olivier creates in general, being where he is in his career. He just brings super talented, inspiring people that he’s closer friends with. It’s a communal, friendly vibe every day.”
IndieWire’s Steve Greene praised the “fresh spin” for the series inspired by the filmmaker’s previous film, writing in an A- review that “it would be easy for this to become a flippant exercise in self-awareness, a vehicle for industry potshots cloaked in an ‘IP, but make it A24’ veneer.”
Greene continued, “Given the quarter-century time gap since his last ‘Irma Vep,’ it also wouldn’t be shocking for this to be an Assayas-centric, self-absorbed therapy session in eight hourlong chunks. The feat of this ‘Irma Vep’ is that it shrewdly stirs in handfuls of each while maintaining an overall flavor decidedly in its own third category. [Instead], Assayas is offering up an intentionally messy treatise on who has ownership over the creative process. Is it dictated by the century-old visual stylings of an early genre work? Is it controlled by a bundle-of-nerves director still wrestling with a previous version of this same vision? Is it inherently compromised by the modern demands of integrated marketing and corporate financiers? Is it guided by the whims of former lovers still leaving a psychological scar in their absence? Or is it all an illusion, created piece by piece by producers and costume designers and every manner of craftspeople, each with contributions guided by desires and insecurities of their own?”
The review concluded, “‘Irma Vep’ isn’t offering a direct answer, but a knowing smile instead, providing enough information for anyone watching to draw their own conclusions.”