Vicky Krieps plays the rebellious Empress Elisabeth in new period film ‘Corsage’ : NPR

NPR’s Daniel Estrin speaks with actor Vicky Krieps about her new film, “Corsage,” about Austria’s Empress Elisabeth.


You will not have to be a enthusiast of interval dramas to be drawn into a new film in theaters now referred to as “Corsage.” It really is about the empress of Austria in the late 1870s. She wears a crown of fiery crimson braids. She’s recognized for her beauty. But as she approaches her 40th birthday, she needs to rebel. Vicky Krieps plays Empress Elisabeth in the film, and she joins us now from Berlin, Germany. Many thanks for being with us.

VICKY KRIEPS: Hello there.

ESTRIN: You know, Vicky, I seemed up a black-and-white picture of the genuine-lifetime Empress Elisabeth of Austria from the mid-1800s. And it truly is incredible. You glance just like her. What drew you to her character?

KRIEPS: Well, I consider it really is several issues, but it goes back to currently being a teenager in Luxembourg, in which I lived fairly freely with my dad and mom, and especially my mother, who taught me to be a free female and, you know, not to are living up to the princess picture. But then it’s possible since I had this unique backdrop when I found out there ended up these films from the ’50s about Empress Elisabeth. And in Europe, just about every Xmas you viewed the films. It truly is like a tradition. And I realized the films, but, you know, I was generally type of suspicious, I consider, of the princess picture. But I liked the dresses like each and every other girl. And then at 15, I examine her biography. It just left me puzzled, truly. It remaining me with a experience of dissatisfaction and, you know, not figuring out who she definitely was and sensing some form of darkness, seriously, at the rear of the veil.

ESTRIN: You know, she’s not a incredibly familiar historical figure in the U.S., I guess, as much as she is in Europe. What was this empress’s part? Was she just the spouse of the emperor? Did she have electric power of her individual?

KRIEPS: I signify, I consider that is truly what she experienced from. She was genuinely married into this pretty powerful, quite restrictive – they have been famous at the time, the Habsburg family members, you know, the royal spouse and children from Austria, specially the guy she married was the son of a lady who was tremendous standard, who grew to become her – virtually like her controller. She would generally wait for her at 5 p.m. with a large reserve in her hand where by she wrote down just about every mistake she created in the working day, you know. So coming from a somewhat rural castle in the countryside. But then she arrived to this quite, extremely royal property and had to be the perfect puppet. She truly experienced to sit and be attractive and shut up.

ESTRIN: Wow. It truly is remarkable you phone her a puppet. And, you know, early on in the film, you are swept up into this planet of the 1800s. You see the empress at the heart of attention at a ceremony. And abruptly, she faints. Before long we master that, truly, she was faking that. But you see your character climbing the stairs. And the key topic song will come in by a French songwriter, Camille.


CAMILLE: (Singing) She was an owl. I observed her swaying in the sky. And she died within my arms. I realized she was a cat. Go.

ESTRIN: It can be this incredibly modern day, brooding song. And I assume your character seems appropriate into the digital camera, won’t she?

KRIEPS: Yeah. That’s a little something that Marie wished to create correct away.

ESTRIN: Yeah. Which is Marie Kreutzer, the director of “Corsage.”

KRIEPS: The viewers must know that this is likely to go a different way and that she’s heading to choose in excess of her own tale. You know, this is a character that you see nearly go away the fourth wall amongst the audience and the movie. It is almost as if she’s climbing out of the monitor. She’s indicating, you know, I’m leaving my role even as the character, you know. And it’s also saying, what if the particular person you all appear at looks back? I mean, you all concur that I’m famed, and now you might be viewing me and you might be chatting about me and you might be judging me and you are expressing that I gained pounds and that I misplaced excess weight and that I am tricky and all these factors. I think the character in the movie is making an attempt to escape this and trying to wake folks up in their quite traditional techniques of observing points.

ESTRIN: Talk about the title of the movie, “Corsage.” I signify, in the U.S., of class, is the flower you wear on your wrist at promenade. But what does corsage suggest in this context?

KRIEPS: I imagine the complete movie is to chat about the corset this female was carrying physically and as a element of her costume or her gown, but also the corset that they were creating her have on as the empress, which are the rules and the…

ESTRIN: Everything she was expected to do.

KRIEPS: Yeah, she was predicted to do. And this once again, we use – and that is why we have the contemporary new music and all the things is to talk about modern day women and how we continue to use this corset, even if we do not understand, you know, unconsciously we are nevertheless a slave to this plan of having to remember to.

ESTRIN: And we see you being laced up in a corset in the film more than and over. It truly is this impossibly limited costume.


ESTRIN: What did it truly feel like to wear a corset in the movie?

KRIEPS: You wouldn’t wear it for a single minute, I guarantee you. It is just so utterly painful. I mean, I would in no way do it all over again. And I really, truly believe it was a oversight. I necessarily mean, what is a oversight, seriously? You do it and you do what you do. I wished to do a excellent task. I required to be a superior actress. I mentioned, well, she was carrying it. But, of training course, we didn’t imagine of how quite a few hours I would don it. You know, if you make a movie, you get the job done for 12, 14 several hours. And you hardly ever sit down.

ESTRIN: Oh, my gosh. So you wore it for times and times on finish?

KRIEPS: Yeah, because I couldn’t get out of it. If I would get out of it, I couldn’t get back in. You know, and this feels really agonizing on on the stage of the soul for the reason that you sense even my bones usually are not ideal. You know, my bones are in the way. I am in the way of the concept of the vogue or of the idea, the shape I’m meant to have.

ESTRIN: Wow. I want to inquire you about, you know, you will find a Netflix sequence now about the empress referred to as “The Empress.” You outlined the movie that individuals have grown up observing about the empress. What retains pulling folks to inform her story on film?

KRIEPS: I never know. I feel all these films are out now is a coincidence simply because I experienced this concept 2015. And when we initially pitched it, persons were like, you might be nuts. This is – no just one is interested in an empress. So I guess it can be what ever you phone it, coincidence or zeitgeist. I imagine why we are drawn to these men and women is simply because they are also this ideal picture of a woman and, like, statuettes, like portraits. You cannot envision them additional great. And I imagine that is why we produced our movie to say they are not extra fantastic. They are the opposite. They are perhaps even fewer great. They’re just human.

ESTRIN: Vicky Krieps stars in the new motion picture “Corsage.” Vicky, thank you so substantially for speaking with us.

KRIEPS: Thank you.

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