Sweden’s Alicia Vikander joins new Bourne movie

Swedish rising supernova Alicia Vikander is set to star opposite Matt Damon in the fifth Jason Bourne film, her agent told The Local on Wednesday.

Sweden's Alicia Vikander joins new Bourne movie
Alicia Vikander on the red carpet. Photo: AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette

Hollywood-based news site Deadline first broke the story, reporting that a tight filming schedule had also forced the 26-year-old Swedish actress to drop out of director Justin Kurzel's 'Assassins Creed', starring her rumoured boyfriend Irish-German actor Michael Fassbender.

Vikander was busy travelling when The Local tried to reach her on Wednesday, but her agent Laura Munsterhjelm confirmed the news.

“It's true and it's great,” she said.

Following in the footsteps of Swedish Hollywood stars such as Noomi Rapace and Joel Kinnaman, the Gothenburg-born actress rose to international fame when she appeared in Anna Karenina with British star Keira Knightley three years ago.

Since then, she has laid claim to the title as one of Hollywood's new favourite sweethearts, with roles in blockbusters such as Academy Award-nominated Danish film 'A Royal Affair', opposite Benedict Cumberbatch as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 'The Fifth Estate', and more recently British sci-fi thriller 'Ex Machina', released earlier this year.

Evidently leading a hectic life, the Swede is set to appear in a grand total of nine movies being released in 2015, including director Guy Ritchie's upcoming action comedy 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.' in August. Yes, by the way, you read that right. Nine movies.

“It's a lot, but it's fantastically fun as well,” Vikander told the Swedish edition of Elle Magazine earlier this year.

Matt Damon at the film festival in Cannes. Photo: AP Photo/Francois Mori

Currently locked in for release in July 2016, the fifth instalment of the Bourne saga will see US actor Matt Damon return to the title role as action hero Jason Bourne. Julia Stiles, who starred in the first three films, is also set to return to the cast.

Damon's Bourne trilogy was a huge worldwide success, grossing nearly $1 billion at the box office between 2002 and 2007. Rebooted in 2012 as 'The Bourne Legacy', the fourth instalment starring Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz was met with comparatively lukewarm response.

Paul Greengrass is also returning to direct the fifth sequel, writing the screenplay with Christopher Rouse.


How a Swedish film festival is offering a nurse downtime during pandemic

A front-line Swedish nurse is getting some Covid downtime with a week of private screenings of the Gothenburg film festival, in a former lighthouse off the country's west coast.

How a Swedish film festival is offering a nurse downtime during pandemic
Competition winner Lisa Enroth.

More than 12,000 candidates from 45 countries applied to watch the festival's films in almost near isolation on an island 400 kilometres (250 miles) from Stockholm.

The prize is a week viewing as many of the festival's 70 premieres as they like in a hotel in the former Pater Noster Lighthouse. But they will be in isolation and will have no access to their own computer or laptop.

READ ALSO: Decision on stricter restrictions for foreign travellers to be made quickly

The bright-red lighthouse, built on a tiny island off Sweden's west coast in 1868, is surrounded by a scattering of squat, red buildings originally built to house the lighthouse keeper's family. It can only be reached by boat or helicopter, depending on the weather.

After a series of interviews and tests, festival organisers chose emergency nurse and film buff Lisa Enroth for the prize, in keeping with the 2021 festival's theme, Social Distances.

Before boarding a small speedboat out to the island on the clear, chill winter's morning, Enroth said she had applied not only out of her love for the cinema, but also to seek respite from her hectic work as an emergency nurse during the pandemic.

“It has been hectic, so it's a nice opportunity just to be able to land and to reflect over the year,” she said.

Months working amid Covid crisis

Sweden, which has taken a light-touch approach to the pandemic compared to its neighbours, has been facing a stronger than expected second wave of the virus. So far, more than 11,500 people have died from Covid-19 across the country.

Enroth works in the emergency ward of a hospital in Skovde in central Sweden. Since the start of the pandemic, her hospital's work caring for virus patients on top of their regular workload has been intense.

Lisa Enroth on her way to the remote festival location. Photo: AFP

“We had a lot of Covid cases during this year and every patient that has been admitted to the hospital has been passing through the emergency ward,” she told journalists.

The organisers said they were surprised by the numbers of applicants for the prize but were confident they had chosen the right candidate — not only for her love of cinema.

“She has also dedicated this past year in the frontline against the Covid-19 pandemic,” the festival's creative director Jonas Holmberg said to AFP.

“That's also one of the reasons we chose her”. 

Isolated screenings

Boarding the boat dressed in a thick survival suit, Enroth sped over the calm, icy waters, jumping off in the island's tiny harbour and disappearing into her lodgings.

A screen has been set up in the lantern room at the top of the windswept island's lighthouse, offering a 360-degree view of the sea and coastline around.

Another wide screen has been set up in one of the island's buildings.

Enroth will also have a tablet and headphones if she wants to watch films elsewhere on the island, which measures just 250 metres by 150 metres.

With only one other person staying permanently on the island — a safety precaution — Enroth's only contact with the outside world will be through her video diary about the films she has viewed.

The festival's films will be shown online and two venues in Gothenburg itself will allow screenings for just one person at a time.

Holmberg, the festival's creative director, said he hoped events like these would maintain interest in the industry at a time when many screens are closed because of pandemic restrictions.

“We are longing so much to come back to the cinemas and in the meantime we have to be creative and do the things that we can to create discussion,” he told journalists.