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22-Nov-2017 11:42

By the time she completed the three-year ballet program in Stockholm, acting had become her passion.

“I figured I’d be a local actress, like my mum was,” she says.

I suppose I was expecting a suited chauffeur with a joyless expression to match my own, his starlet cargo waiting behind tinted windows.

But when I opened the gate, there was Alicia Vikander in black leggings and cross-trainers, her familiar face, with its deeply golden complexion and wide-set brown eyes, looking stricken.

Now the moment had arrived.“I’m all nerves,” she said, her teeth chattering softly.

“I think I never really believed we’d have to go through with this.” Then she sank to the floor of the breakfast room and, while I made us coffee, gathered my two dogs into her lap as if desperate for the solace of something terrestrial. “It’s my mum,” she said, laughing nervously, “calling to make sure I’m not going to die.”After some wan assurances in Swedish and a double espresso, we drove to the desert, suited up, boarded a plane whose blunt nose had been painted with shark’s teeth, and jumped.“I have no recollection of that free fall,” she says a couple of hours later, over a Thai lunch in Silver Lake, the Eastside neighborhood where a number of her old friends from Stockholm, writers and musicians mainly, are living on a sort of expat Scandinavian commune.

She was more or less raised in the theater, and at age seven she landed a role in a professional production of for a living. Girls piled up on a mattress in the locker room in between classes to sleep.

And because of that I think they were open to us in a way most adults aren’t.”Meanwhile, she got serious about ballet, moving to Stockholm by herself at age fifteen to train at the Royal Swedish Ballet School. “In ballet school we all had very good grades,” she recalls, “but not because you needed to be smart to dance.

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And yet the script had been floating around Hollywood for more than a decade before Hooper seized it.On-screen Alicia is at once steely and fragile, world-weary and childlike.