Hot property: Sweden's Alicia Vikander is film's new it girl
ALICIA Vikander has been able to enjoy anonymity in her work, but not for much longer.
The Swedish actress will be a regular fixture on our cinema screens this year, with no less than four films scheduled for release.
The 26-year-old made her English language feature film debut in Joe Wright's lavish Russian drama, Anna Karenina.
She shares the screen once again with her Anna Karenina co-star Domhnall Gleeson in Ex Machina, likely to be released in May, as the face of an exciting yet terrifying form of artificial intelligence.
But Australian cinemagoers will next see her in the fantasy film Seventh Son, based on the book The Spook's Apprentice.
"When they wanted to send me the script I picked up the book and read it late that night ... for being a teen book, it's quite scary," she tells APN.
Young Thomas (Ben Barnes) becomes an apprentice to the local spook (Jeff Bridges) so he can learn how to fight evil spirits in a land filled with magical creatures.
Vikander plays a witch, Alice, who becomes the love interest for Thomas after he finds her swimming in a lake on a moonlit night.
"She's brought up as the witch but finds out things about her past that makes her see things from a different perspective," Vikander says.
"Then of course she meets this guy, who is one of the enemy, who she falls in love with. In that sense it's a classic story. They are these two characters who are outsiders. They connect over having not really felt at home or truly belonging anywhere."
The spook and his apprentice are tested when the powerful Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore) escapes her confinement.
Oscar-winner Moore was a mentor on set. Filmed three years ago, Seventh Son was only Vikander's second English language film and her first big studio film.
"It was nice to see a woman (like her) who looked after me being a new girl in the industry," she says.
"We spent many mornings having coffees and very nice conversations. I felt very relaxed working with her."
In Vikander's next role, she will star opposite another recent Oscar winner, Eddie Redmayne, in The Danish Girl.
"I haven't really had a week off in two or three years but I'm lucky that the films didn't come out straight away," she says.
"It gave me the chance to just focus on my craft and my work and not have to be in the public eye."
Other films that have kept her busy in the past three years include The Man From UNCLE and Testament of Youth, both due for release later this year.
Playing British writer and pacifist Vera Brittain in Testament of Youth, opposite Game of Throne's Kit Harington, was a linguistic challenge.
"I had to play a British icon and I knew I had to try to nail it to do justice to the woman and everybody who knew her," she says.
"I would say there's four times more preparation involved to feel relaxed with another language.
"Of course it gets easier and easier. I live in London - not that I've been here much lately but this is my home - so I probably speak more in English in my everyday life now."
Seventh Son opens on Thursday.