Vicky Krieps breaks the bonds limiting girls in ‘Corsage’

For Vicky Krieps, portraying Elisabeth, Empress of Austria, in “Corsage” felt nearly inevitable. The actor had lengthy been compelled by the unconventional ruler, having learn her biography and watched Romy Schneider’s 1956 model “Sissi — The Young Empress” in her youth. After taking pictures the Austrian movie “We Used to Be Cool” with director Marie Kreutzer in 2015, Krieps instructed they reunite for a recent tackle the nineteenth century historic determine, also called Sisi. Krieps was curious about the best way the empress was pressured into a specific picture, as was Schneider after taking part in her.

“That was something that always interested me and amazed me, that so many women in different generations seem to have been suffering from the same thing,” Krieps says. “Each generation has different faiths, but it’s the same phenomenon: having to please in order to be loved. We present different role models of what a woman is. A woman is either the saint or the whore, either the mother or the lover. We always feel like we have to prove to ourselves that we are all these women. So when we were working I really felt like that would be something I would want to talk about. To be able to channel this energy or even to vent it.”

Initially, Kreutzer resisted the thought of a brand new movie about Sisi, however as she and Krieps started going via historic archives and studying books concerning the empress, Kreutzer turned simply as compelled. Two years later, as Krieps was ending the media tour for 2017’s “Phantom Thread,” a script for “Corsage” arrived. Krieps’ brush with superstar whereas selling Paul Thomas Anderson’s Oscar-nominated movie made Sisi’s story really feel much more related.

“I came back and I was completely exhausted and a little shocked, because I wasn’t used to being so exposed,” Krieps remembers. “In Europe, you don’t really have this. We don’t have this celebrity culture and how you are seen from the public suddenly because you’re an actor. I felt this a lot when I was in the U.S. my first time. How it was almost like a pressure that I had to perform now — to be the actress. So when I came back and the script was in my letterbox, I started crying, because I realized that, ‘This is exactly what I’ve just lived in a small way.’ It was so interesting that now this movie made so much sense for me to make.”

It took a number of years for Kreutzer to get funding for the movie, after which it was delayed as a result of pandemic. Krieps lastly arrived in Vienna in March 2021 and started to organize for the movie, which shot all through the spring and summer time. She learn endlessly concerning the empress, together with letters and a diary from Sisi’s daughter. There was additionally an intense quantity of bodily preparation, together with horse driving and fencing classes, ice swimming coaching, Hungarian courses, and, in fact, studying to put on a corset, which was so tight Krieps couldn’t eat whereas sporting it. An important preparation got here from a physique language coach, who helped Krieps set up how Sisi would transfer.

“I had this whole construction for her, which areas she’s alive in when,” Krieps notes of her character. “When is she moving out of her heart? And when is she moving out of her head? To me, I created her in a way that she almost doesn’t touch the ground. She’s almost floating. I wanted her to have something that you always feel like she’s there, but she’s maybe already not here. So I was doing this walk that became like a dance of walking as if she’s not really there.”

Krieps’ efficiency as Sisi, who’s equal components traditionally correct and dramatically imagined in “Corsage,” which opens Christmas week, represents the primary time the actor has felt completely unafraid in a display function. After “Phantom Thread,” Krieps admits to pulling again from the highlight. She questioned whether or not she was too “vulnerable and too honest and weak for this game.” After that, she returned to Europe and made a number of movies in France. Ultimately, she allowed Sisi to assist deliver her to a spot of undeterred confidence in her work.

“It took time, but I feel that I have understood that I can do it my way,” Krieps says. “I don’t have to play the game. I can be me. I can still do press, and I can still be an actress, but it will be me and the way I do it. I think this movie helped me enormously. It’s something I did, and it’s my interpretation of that rule, and it’s my honest, artistic proposal that people like or not like, but it’s really me. Something went away. I’m not scared anymore.”

On a bigger stage, Krieps is conscious that “Corsage” faucets into one thing elementary for feminine viewers. Though it’s a narrative that may resonate with all audiences, her tackle Sisi is fueled by a tactile sense of rage for a way girls have been handled — and the way they proceed to be handled. In that manner, “Corsage” is as a lot a contemporary story as it’s a interval piece.

“I think it’s because as a woman it resonates something that is at the same time very, very old and very now and very zeitgeist,” Krieps says. “I sometimes feel that all the women before me [are] in me. I can feel them be angry, sometimes. Even generations of women that have lived things I have not lived, but sometimes I feel that we are all connected to stories that have happened before.”