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Vicky Krieps: I Felt Like ‘I Was Disappearing’ Amid ‘Phantom Thread’ Fame

"Everything I did was wrong, because I didn’t know how to play the game," Krieps said of her newfound success.

PHANTOM THREAD, Vicky Krieps, 2017. © Focus Features /Courtesy Everett Collection

“Phantom Thread”

©Focus Features/courtesy Everett Collect / Everett Collection

Vicky Krieps felt like she herself was becoming a ghost after the success of “Phantom Thread.”

The Paul Thomas Anderson-helmed 2017 film shot theater actress Krieps to stateside stardom. Krieps starred opposite Daniel Day-Lewis as a fashion designer’s muse.

“While I was doing ‘Phantom,’ it felt exactly like this jungle. Daniel being the king of the jungle, and me coming to study a little plant in the jungle and gradually making my own space in his world,” Krieps told The Wrap. “So I think Paul Thomas Anderson, the director, and Daniel let me know that it’s OK to be this weird scientist. They gave me the absolution, they gave me the feeling it’s OK to be who I am and to do it the way I do it. But what no one could prepare me for was what happens when it’s seen.”

Krieps continued, “Suddenly people look at you and go, ‘Oh, you’re the girl from “Phantom Thread.”‘ ‘No, I’m me.’ It’s very weird, but the first so many months I always wanted to go and have coffee with each person [who saw the film]. ‘Oh, you saw my movie? Really?’ Because for me, it’s about my plant. And someone saw my plant. And I had to learn how to deal with this more common look that you get. Suddenly, it’s not personal, because you have then become the movie for people.”

Krieps called the fame “hurtful” because it overshadowed her own sense of individuality offscreen.

“It was suddenly very hurtful for me, because I felt I was disappearing,” the “Corsage” star said. “I felt like I was constantly bumping into invisible walls. As if everything I did was wrong, because I didn’t know how to play the game. Because I didn’t want to play the game of, ‘What are you wearing? How do you look? What do you say? What do you not say? How do you behave?’ And I couldn’t. I was really suffering from it. So I retreated into my forest again.”

Krieps previously told IndieWire that both Anderson and director Marie Kreutzer “trusted me in my artistic choice.” She said, “I felt free like on ‘Phantom Thread,’ things just happened because I knew I was allowed to go beyond what is written.”

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