Vicky Krieps explains why making ‘Corsage’ was ‘a mistake’

Vicky Krieps brings a way of spontaneity and live-wire unpredictability to each function she performs, from her breakout efficiency in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Phantom Thread” reverse Daniel Day-Lewis to her new, celebrated half in Marie Kreutzer’s “Corsage.”

Krieps received a prize for her efficiency when “Corsage” premiered within the Un Sure Regard part of the 2022 Cannes Movie Pageant. The film would go on to be named finest image on the London Movie Pageant. Krieps additionally received for her efficiency on the European Movie Awards, the place the film was nominated for finest European movie and Kreutzer was nominated for steering.

Within the image, which opens Friday in Los Angeles, Krieps performs Empress Elisabeth of Austria, recognized by the nickname “Sisi,” as she celebrates her fortieth birthday in 1877. Although she is broadly recognized for her public picture, she is given little to do, as her husband, Emperor Franz Joseph (Florian Teichtmeister), permits her to take part solely in ceremonial duties. She begins to insurgent in methods huge and small, pushing again towards the expectations of her occasions as to what the lifetime of a lady may be.

Born in Luxembourg and based mostly in Berlin, the 39-year-old Krieps doesn’t look like somebody to be stored idly apart, approaching her life and profession with a bohemian spirit all her personal. Throughout a current interview in Los Angeles, after being requested a query relating to how her new film pertains to historical past, Krieps reached into her bag for a guide she had simply been studying, Anne Cameron’s “Daughters of Copper Woman.” As she shuffled by way of the pages to discover a passage associated to the subject at hand, Krieps famous, “I’m not part of the fast-moving world.”

Other than “Phantom Thread,” Krieps has additionally had standout performances in movies equivalent to Mia Hansen-Løve’s “Bergman Island,” M. Night time Shyamalan’s “Old” and Mathieu Amalric’s “Hold Me Tight.” She beforehand appeared in Kretuzer’s 2016 movie “We Used to Be Cool,” which led to the 2 of them desirous to work collectively once more.

Maybe the one expectation to have for Krieps transferring ahead is shock. Reworking a historic story into an lively exploration of insurrection with “Corsage,” Krieps has discovered a mission completely suited to her personal type. Or, to make use of her description of the movie, “my personal private answer to what it means being a woman and being an actress.”

Vicky Krieps as Empress Elisabeth of Austria in “Corsage.”

(Felix Vratny / IFC Movies)

The mission actually originated with you. You urged the concept to Marie Kreutzer. You’ve talked about the way you first discovered of the story of Empress Elisabeth whenever you had been 15 or so. What made you interested by visiting her story now?

I believe lots of it was instinct, but when I have a look at it now, I do know what it was. I may really feel within the story of this girl some kind of melancholia or despair or disappointment coming from one thing all of us have right this moment rather a lot, which is alienation from your self. We’ve come to the purpose in our society the place we’ve moved away from love up to now that we don’t even know who we’re. Now we have no relation to our our bodies. Now we have no relation to our sexuality, to who we’re, particularly ladies. For tons of of years, ladies had been taught to behave and to cover all the things that was feminine and conceal their sexuality and conceal their feelings, that having your interval is filthy or one thing; it’s a must to behave as when you had been sick.

Even I, who grew up on this hippie home the place everybody was free and my mom taught me to climb on bushes, nonetheless, going to high school, society taught me that I needed to please, that I needed to be fairly, that I needed to be OK if somebody grabs my ass, as a result of that’s simply what it’s. And I by no means felt OK with any of it. And I believe not feeling OK with it made me really feel near her in some kind of battle that I didn’t perceive on the time. However now I do.

From very early within the movie, individuals are criticizing Elisabeth about how she appears and about her weight. Particularly as an actor, did you come to attach with these elements of her story?

I knew how obsessed she was with this stuff, like her weight and the driving and the health devices. However I keep in mind considering, “Why was this woman like that? Why was she doing this?” And that began me being curious, however I actually discovered extra doing the analysis. And that’s one thing that occurred in two phases, as a result of one was, like all the things in my life, extra intuitive. Then I got here right here to point out and current and do Q&As for “Phantom Thread.” And once I got here again from doing that, I used to be very confused.

I didn’t know what occurred. Individuals had been speaking about me. And that’s so bizarre. So I went residence and that’s once I had the script in my inbox and I assumed, “Now, I can really understand her, what it means when people look at you,” even when it’s in a totally completely different scale. At 16, they’d hand out little hand-drawn photos of her, which is just like the old-school Instagram. They’d hand them out and say, “This is the most beautiful woman of Europe.” It will need to have been traumatizing. Everybody knew her and knew how she appeared and stated that she’s probably the most stunning, which then, she needed to reply to.

Two smiling women stand together.

Vickie Krieps, left star of “Corsage,” and the movie’s director, Marie Kreutzer.

(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Occasions)

If you proposed the concept to Marie of doing an Empress Elisabeth film, she didn’t wish to do it at first. What modified her thoughts?

I couldn’t persuade her at first. She grew up in Austria and there, Sisi is pure merchandise. She’s on each cup, on each tote bag, on every bit of cake. So to her it was probably the most shallow, silly, superficial factor you would ever do as a lady. And she or he was like, “Oh, no.” After which we parted methods and secretly, with out telling me, she went to the archive. And she or he would examine her and these little acts of insurrection. Like, she would go to eat dinner and sit down however not eat. Or she would smoke, which on the time was completely not allowed for ladies to do.

And all this stuff could seem small, however for the time, it was rebellious to do this. And that’s what she discovered within the archives, wrote a script and despatched to me. And with the onerous copy of the script was a postcard that stated, “Well, I guess you were right.”

You talked about “Phantom Thread,” and also you’ve been actually open speaking about the truth that you purposefully stepped again from the Hollywood profession that was being supplied you after the success of that movie. What was the factor you didn’t wish to have occur?

That sounds very clever and acutely aware and I’m not that. It was not like one thing was supplied to me, however I may really feel one thing. I may really feel some kind of consideration drawn to me or some kind of, “Oh, there she is, the girl from ‘Phantom Thread,’” when actually, I’m simply me. And this to me felt so alien, so bizarre, that I needed to simply do issues like not having an agent right here or not working right here for some time. That’s what I did. However it was not that I had all these affords and I used to be like, “No, I don’t want the offers.” It was much less acutely aware. It was extra reactive. And I keep in mind throwing away my telephone. I didn’t have a telephone for half a 12 months. So perhaps I used to be supplied some issues, I don’t know. I went to Portugal to surf.

On your half in “Corsage,” you discovered Hungarian, you discovered methods to fence, you discovered ice swimming. You already knew methods to journey a horse, however you discovered methods to journey sidesaddle. Do you want that appearing offers you the chance to do these sorts of various issues?

I believe I’m simply very curious as an individual. However I used to be additionally making an attempt to as a result of it’s a really advanced individual and it’s somebody that you may learn all the things you need about her, however you’ll by no means get a solution. As a result of I believe if she didn’t know who she was, different individuals can’t know who she was. So doing all these things actually helped me get nearer to only a style of her world. And one factor I did, by the way in which, I additionally took a motion coach, Jane Gibson. She works with the Royal Opera Home. And that was to me essential, as a result of I needed to discover a option to perceive what it could imply to be reduce in half.

I believe that’s the place lots of it comes from. If you put on a corset, not solely is it painful nevertheless it cuts you in half. It divides your thoughts out of your physique, your decrease half out of your higher half, your libido principally looks like not a part of you. So your sexuality turns into one thing unusual. All the things turns into unusual. And so working with this motion coach, I understood that will be virtually as if she’s not touching the bottom. In fact, I used to be, however in my thoughts I used to be making an attempt to stroll like somebody who was not connected to something. So all this preparation actually solely was attention-grabbing to know sort of what it could’ve been prefer to be in her footwear. However this was only a tiny a part of it. The primary factor for me was to know her ache.

A masked woman and other people in Victorian evening dress sit at a table in the movie "Corsage."

Vicky Krieps as Empress Elisabeth of Austria in “Corsage.”

(Movie AG / IFC Movies)

Given the themes of the film, it feels a little bit superficial to be asking this, however you have got so many nice wigs and attire and hats within the film. Do these issues assist your efficiency?

If something, it helped me perceive the load. The load of the jewellery, the load of the hair, the time it took to make that hair and all these things. I hate it a lot. So I don’t wish to say that it helped me. I imply, it’s a film now, nevertheless it was actually a mistake and I admit it, it was a mistake. I did it as a result of I used to be silly and I assumed, “I want to wear that corset because she did.” However I didn’t suppose that when you do it for a film, you began at 5 within the morning and also you do it for 12 hours, which is simply not even bearable.

It’s simply so painful, and you may’t breathe. So I used to be all the time unhappy that I may by no means specific the disappointment. Feelings, they simply get caught. However it was my very own fault. I assumed, “I have to stick with it now and just go until the end,” which I did. So I attempted to only take a humble method of claiming,”Properly, you sort of must stay with it now,” however I wouldn’t do it once more. Speaking of what method this stuff assist the appearing, I don’t know if they assist. Appearing is about being along with your feelings and understanding and feeling on the identical time. With the corset, it was very onerous, I discovered.

All of your performances really feel very spontaneous and simply so alive. The place does that come from?

From me. I’m simply me. I don’t go and manipulate myself. I’m simply myself, and you may take it or go away it. And I’m alive, so my characters are alive.