Vikander-Fassbender romance powers new film

Academy Award nominee Michael Fassbender (left) and Swedish actress Alicia Vikander.
Academy Award nominee Michael Fassbender (left) and Swedish actress Alicia Vikander.PHOTO: TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX/REUTERS

NEW YORK •What's a better bet than a Hollywood weepie based on a best-selling book? When the stars fall in love in real life while filming it.

That is the draw of The Light Between Oceans, a heartrending tale based on M.L. Stedman's 2013 novel of the same name that stars Oscar winner Alicia Vikander and Academy Award nominee Michael Fassbender. It opens in the United States on Friday.

The story, set in Australia in the 1920s, is the tragic tale of a lighthouse keeper (Fassbender) and his wife (Vikander), who have suffered two miscarriages when a baby in a boat washes ashore their remote island. They decide to raise the child as their own, until they meet the child's real mother years later.

Vikander, 27, one of the most sought-after young actresses even before she won an Oscar in February for her supporting role in The Danish Girl, had briefly met Fassbender a year before filming on the movie began in New Zealand in late 2014.

"We met each other on the dance floor at the Toronto Film Festival and Baftas - he's a good dancer," she said.

Added Fassbender, 39: "But we hadn't really... we met properly in Wellington in the rehearsals for the first time."

Director Derek Cianfrance then asked the pair to live together in a remote lighthouse for a month during filming and, by the end of 2014, news broke that they were dating.

Vikander said she cried when she first read the script for the movie and said filming such emotional scenes was often exhausting.

"I was in tears the first time I read it and it's because it feels so human and so creatable and it feels like it's about real people and about real drama," she said.

"It helps that I had admired Michael as an actor since I saw his films such as Hunger (2008) and Fish Tank (2009)."

Both Fassbender, the star of Steve Jobs (2015), and Vikander said they had a good feeling during filming about how the movie would turn out.

He said: "It seemed like we had good ingredients. And then it all depends on whether audiences take to it or not. That's really something you can never tell."


• The Light Between Oceans is scheduled to open here in January.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2016, with the headline 'Vikander-Fassbender romance powers new film'. Subscribe