‘Irma Vep’ First Look: Alicia Vikander Slinks into Frame in Olivier Assayas’ HBO Debut

Assayas is remaking his own 1996 meta feature about moviemaking as an HBO limited series set to premiere at Cannes.
"Irma Vep"
"Irma Vep"

Alicia Vikander makes her return to the small screen in HBO’s “Irma Vep,” based on Olivier Assayas’ own 1996 feature film.

Oscar winner Vikander stars as Mira, an American movie star who is disillusioned by Hollywood and a recent breakup. Mira jets to France to star as Irma Vep in a remake of the French silent film, “Les Vampires,” but life soon imitates art as Mira struggles to see where Irma ends and her reality begins.

See Vikander transform into Mira (and Irma) in the first look photos below.

Writer-director Assayas returns for the limited series, which will make its debut at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival before premiering on HBO on Monday, June 6 at 9 p.m. “Irma Vep” will also be available to stream on HBO Max.

Produced in partnership with A24, the series additionally stars Vincent Macaigne, Jeanne Balibar, Devon Ross, Lars Eidinger, Vincent Lacoste, Nora Hamzawi, Adria Arjona, Carrie Brownstein, Tom Sturridge, Byron Bowers, Fala Chen, Hippolyte Girardot, Alex Descas, and Antoine Reinartz.

Outside of “Irma Vep,” Vikander is leading two upcoming films, historical drama “Firebrand” opposite Jude Law as Henry VIII, and “Tomb Raider 2,” the sequel to Vikander’s 2018 blockbuster.

Vikander declined to classify the sultry thriller genre of “Irma Vep,” only teasing to Harper’s Bazaar UK that the series is “so meta, it’s eating itself.”

Mira is also an anagram of Irma, and Vikander hinted that her multiple characters are all part of a game, of sorts.

“I think, while I was making it, I played five roles,” she continued. “It’s like Chinese boxes. There’s always something else going on. I think that’s the beauty of the project.”

Assayas, the writer-director behind “Personal Shopper” and “Clouds of Sils Maria,” told the outlet that the history of Irma Vep marked the first time a “bad girl was a main character” onscreen. “Before that, women were damsels in distress,” Assayas noted, “but she had a striking originality and a strange ambiguous eroticism.”

Assayas and Vikander executive produce “Irma Vep” with Sylvie Barthet, Daniel Delume, Ravi Nandan, Hallie Sekoff, Kevin Turen, Stuart Manashil, “Euphoria” creator Sam Levinson, and Ashley Levinson.

"Irma Vep"
“Irma Vep”Courtesy of HBO
"Irma Vep"
“Irma Vep”HBO
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