HBO just released some new first look images for the upcoming limited series Irma Vep, finally giving us a preview of Alicia Vikander taking on the role once held by Maggie Cheung in Olivier Assayas‘ original film. Following in the footsteps of the film it’s based on, the series will make its world premiere at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, which runs from May 17 to May 28. After that, it will air to wider audiences weekly on HBO starting on June 6, and will be available on HBO Max.
The images all subtly tease out the blurring between reality and fiction that remains at the heart of this series, all while nodding back to the original. Like Cheung before her, Vikander dons a catsuit in these images, something she’s likely to be stuck in for the vast majority of the series if the original film is any indication. We get to see it fully employed while she’s shooting the film within a film, but she’s also wearing it with a jacket over it while the cameras are off her. That outfit was at the core of Cheung‘s character and her objectification by many of the people around her. Vikander‘s suit doesn’t fit that same “bought in a sex shop” vibe that Cheung‘s did, but instead looks velvet and more reflective of the suit donned by Musidora, the actress who played Irma Vep in the original Les Vampires.
Irma Vep is an adaptation of sorts of Olivier‘s Cannes darling with Vikander as Mira, an American movie star coming off a breakup and a career low, who takes the lead role of Vep in a remake of the French silent film Les Vampires. While in France to shoot the crime thriller, Mira begins losing the distinction between herself and the character she plays. Per the logline, it “reveals to us the uncertain ground that lies at the border of fiction and reality, artifice and authenticity, art and life.”
Vikander is joined in the series by Vincent Macaigne, Adria Arjona, Jerrod Carmichael, Carrie Brownstein, Fala Chen, Devon Ross, Jeanne Balibar, Lars Eidinger, Vincent Lacoste, Hippolyte Girardot, Alex Descas, Nora Hamzawi, and Antoine Reinartz. Kristen Stewart will also get to reunite with Olivier in this series with a small role planned for her.
Assayas will be back in the director’s chair to tackle his masterpiece once again, albeit with a few more accolades under his belt since he made Irma Vep. He’s been at the helm for several celebrated films including Summer Hours, Demonlover, and the Golden Globe-winning miniseries Carlos. This time, he’ll have Vikander, Sylvie Barthet, Daniel Delume, Ravi Nandan, Hallie Sekoff, Kevin Turen, Stuart Manashil, Sam Levinson, and Ashley Levinson joining him as executive producers. The series is a joint venture between HBO and A24.
Irma Vep makes its worldwide debut at Cannes before making the jump to homes through HBO and HBO Max starting on June 6. With the Cannes premiere date likely less than a month away now and the HBO release not long after, a trailer for the series shouldn’t be far off.