When Vicky Krieps got the script for her latest film, “Bergman Island,” she knew immediately she would sign on, despite the fact that shooting began in just three weeks and Krieps, who has two children, had a summer holiday with the kids planned.
She was a longtime fan of director Mia Hansen-Løve, and therefore had already started thinking of ways to explain her new change in plan to her children’s father before she learned the film was about a woman trying to balance mothering with her art — much like what Krieps was experiencing in that very moment.
“Bergman Island,” out now, is a movie Krieps describes as “quiet and silent,” “tender and delicate” and one that continues to teach her about herself even throughout the press tour.
“It’s the same thing I was dealing with in real life. When I got the script, I was happy on one side because I knew, yes, of course, I’m going to do this movie. But on the same hand, I had this problem of, like, ‘Oh, what am I going to tell the father of my children now?’ Because that means that I will work again. And it was supposed to be our summer holiday,” she says.
Filming began in three weeks (Greta Gerwig was originally cast in the role and had to drop out last minute), so Krieps ended up taking her children with her on location, where summer holiday collided with mom’s latest job.
“I’m struggling with these things on a daily basis and that’s what the movie is about. And that’s what’s amazing, that the show has so many layers of parallel to my life and to Mia’s life,” Krieps explains. “It’s hard, of course; you always have to ask yourself, ‘What is the thing you should fight for? And am I a good mother?’ You’re always questioning yourself, ‘Am I a good enough mother? Should I be a better mother?’”
Much like her character, she believes in the value her work gives her to be a good role model for her children, and thus wants to show them she can strive for both, to be there for them and also have her work.
“I think we have to find a way to balance, but it’s definitely not easy. And that’s what’s been challenging,” she says.
The Luxembourg native was very suddenly in the spotlight when she was cast alongside Daniel Day-Lewis in Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2017 film “Phantom Thread,” in which Day-Lewis played a fashion designer and she his muse, Alma. It was obviously a huge boon for the actress’ career, but it also caused a lot of displacement for Krieps.
“I think I got quite lost for a year or so, when I felt like Paul [Thomas Anderson] had found me and taken me out of my little fantasy world that I was living in and put me on the big screen, but then afterward, I was alone and I didn’t know…now if I go back, it feels like I have changed to the people around me, but I didn’t feel like leaving from where I come to go somewhere. Why would I have moved to the U.S. — I would have felt like an imposter,” she says. “So really for a year or two years, I would say, I was wandering around not knowing my place, and ‘Bergman Island’ really helped me understand this question of in what ways my life changed by then. It was doing this movie that gave me back my strength.”
The movie, she continues, was the right kind of role to help her feel like whatever this current version of herself is — post-Hollywood breakout but not at all interested in blockbuster superstardom.
“I know I’m different and I know I will never fit into the system or any kind of system just because that’s how I was raised. And I’m too dreamy, but it’s OK to be dreamy and it’s OK to be weak and it’s OK to be vulnerable. And it’s OK to feel lonely,” she says. “I made peace with this feeling of loneliness that it had put me. I must say, ‘Phantom Thread’ really put me in a place of loneliness because I don’t know if you understand what I mean, but people were looking at me in a certain way of like, ‘Oh, this is the girl who did this film. This is Alma.’ And I didn’t find anywhere where I just felt ‘me.’ And then I understood, well, it’s OK to feel alone. And I will move on and I will grow. And that’s what happened. I just gave myself time. And I grew up and now I understand that as actors, we always live in this place of freedom.”