Vikander, who won the Oscar for best supporting actress for The Danish Girl, will play Mira, an American movie star disillusioned by her career and a recent breakup, who moves to France to star as Irma Vep in a remake of the French silent film classic Les Vampires.
The series, loosely based on the film, will be written and directed by Assayas, who revealed he was working on the adaptation back in May. It will be produced by the team behind HBO’s Euphoria: A24, Sam Levinson and Kevin Turen.
Feature film Irma Vep starred Maggie Cheung as herself and Jean-Pierre Leaud as the middle-aged French film director. It screened in the Un Certain Regard section of the 1996 Cannes Film Festival.
The series, which is set against the backdrop of a lurid crime thriller, follows Vikander’s Mira who struggles as the distinctions between herself and the character she plays begin to blur and merge. It is exec produced by Assayas, Vikander, Sylvie Barthet, Levinson, Ashley Levinson, Turen through Little Lamb, and Stuart Manashil.
Irma Vep is the latest limited series that has the Ex Machina star Vikander attached. She is also developing a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M For Murder with MGM/UA Television.
“When the opportunity arose to partner with Alicia and Olivier we jumped at the chance,” said Francesca Orsi, EVP HBO Programming. “Olivier is a master at weaving unique narratives imbued with levity and drama and Alicia is one of the most versatile, celebrated actors of our time. They have an undeniable, distinct vision for the reimagining of Olivier’s cult classic film, and we can’t wait to tell it with them.”
“I have been a long-time admirer of Olivier and his work,” said Vikander. “I am very excited for us to work together, and to be a part of the expanded universe of his superb cult classic, Irma Vep. There are a lot of brilliant people coming together and I am delighted to be partnering with HBO and A24 on this special project.”
“I am immensely grateful to Alicia, A24, and HBO for giving me the incredible opportunity to explore and expand Irma Vep in a series format,” added Assayas. “This is a comedy that will try and catch the zeitgeist the same way the original Irma Vep did, in a very different world, a very different era, that right now feels light years away.”