IRMA VEP is a new HBO series starring Alicia Vikander. It’s a remake of a movie by the same director and all very meta… and gay. The first episode is a bit muddled, but by episode 2, you should be getting into this. Otherwise, it’s probably a lost cause. Read our full Irma Vep series review here!
IRMA VEP is a new HBO series starring Alicia Vikander in the all-important title role. Or actually, the series does focus on many other characters, but they all still revolve around her. This new HBO series is a remake of the 1996 movie with the same title. This was also written and directed by Olivier Assayas, who is the creator (and director) of this series adaption.
If you enjoyed the previous movies by Olivier Assayas (which many lady-loving ladies will definitely be familiar with), then this is definitely for you. Also, if you like movies and series that are very meta and combines fact and fiction, then this is also for you.
Continue reading our Irma Vep series review below. The series premieres with episode 1 on June 6, 2022.
Gay from the get-go!
It is a bit of a shame, that HBO is only releasing episode 1 on the premiere day. I certainly fear that this could be a mistake. Personally, I felt it took at least two episodes to really get into the vibe of this production. But if you stay patient and stick with it, then you will be rewarded.
Also, it’s gay right out of the gate, so you won’t have to wait for Alicia Vikander to lust after (in a very intense way) another woman. The other woman is played by Adria Arjona (Pacific Rim: Uprising) and their chemistry is off the charts!
Speaking of Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, Beckett), she is awesome in this. She plays the big movie star, Mira, who has struggled with getting a hit at the box office. When the story of the series begins, she is just wrapping up a press tour for her latest movie; A superhero action flick titled Doomsday which is a huge box office hit.
In other words, she is on the top of her game because everybody wants her for their next huge hit. This means she is wanted for both the sequel and a new Marvel movie. Something her agent, Zelda (a super-cool Carrie Brownstein) is very keen on getting her attached to.
However, Mira just wants to play the role she has dreamed of for the longest time: Irma Vep.
Alicia Vikander is perfect!
It should be noted that the reason Swedish Oscar-winner (for The Danish Girl) Alicia Vikander is so amazing, is that she plays Mira as totally laidback and relatable. Everyone around her acts like a total diva and makes strange demands, but she is completely calm and kind to everyone. Having the superstar be the most normal person in the room is an excellent choice for this story.
And since Irma Vep is both drama and comedy (along with a few other genres), Alicia Vikander basically becomes the “straight man” in the comedy parts. Mind you, she is definitely not straight in Irma Vep which is public knowledge. Making the premiere of Irma Vep right as Pride month begins is perfect.
It is all very meta!
Alicia Vikander plays an actor playing the role of “Irma Vep” in a series that is a remake of a movie that is itself about making a remake of another movie. Yes, it is all very meta, but (and I realize I’m repeating myself here) by the second episode, it all feels perfectly normal and makes sense.
In this new HBO series, we’re actually witnessing the making of the “Les Vampires” series. And again, this series is based on the real 1996 movie by Olivier Assayas. In the movie, he wanted to make a movie remake and this time it’s a series.
The director does not play himself in this series, which is probably a good thing since Vincent Macaigne (Non-Fiction) is magnificent. He plays the director in the series. The character’s name is René Vidal and he is quite complicated himself. In fact, he won’t even acknowledge that he’s making a series. No, he’s a film director and simply making a very long movie that will be divided into parts.
Also, he wants to make a very direct remake of the 1915 movie, which doesn’t make much sense to the actors. They question everything and want to change and add scenes. Well, except for Mira (Alicia Vikander) who just wants to do a good job in a serious role after having starred in a blockbuster action movie. She doesn’t really make much of a fuss.
Watch Irma Vep on HBO and stream on HBO Max
The role of Irma Vep originated in the 1915 movie Les Vampires by Louis Feuillade. The fact that Irma Vep isn’t just a “damsel in distress” but rather a woman with her own ideas and plans (and sensuality) was something completely new. Hell, it can still be a rarety in many movies that revolve around a male hero (or heroes) with women only serving as pieces in his story.
Even her name is a riddle since “Irma Vep” is an anagram for “Vampire”.
This intriguing and historic backdrop alone is enough to get me interested in this HBO series. However, it’s Alicia Vikander and the very (very!) meta approach that really makes it work.
As mentioned several times already, Oliver Assayas is the writer and director of this HBO series. Just as he was on the 1996 movie which this series is essentially a longer (and different) version of. Previously, Olivier Assayas wrote and directed Clouds of Sils Maria (2014) and Personal Shopper (2016) which both starred Kristen Stewart.
She could also have been the obvious choice for the lead in this series, but I’m happy Alicia Vikander is getting to rock everyone’s world instead. Also, Kristen Stewart will be showing up in this series as well. Just not in the earlier episodes. With a total of 8 episodes, you will have to be patient.
IRMA VEP will debut MONDAY, JUNE 6 (9:00 – 10:00 p.m. ET/PT) on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max.
Womentainment recommendation: You will definitely want to watch Irma Vep for Alicia Vikander and all those gorgeous meta layers.
It’s a treat for all that love both Olivier Assayas’s previous films and for anyone who’s a fan of the Call My Agent series. Also, it’s quite steamy at times… often without anyone even touching one another. Trust me on this!
Director: Olivier Assayas
Writer: Olivier Assayas
Stars: Alicia Vikander, Adria Arjona, Byron Bowers, Vincent Macaigne, Devon Ross, Tom Sturridge, Carrie Brownstein, Lars Eidinger, Jeanne Balibar, Alex Descas, Vincent Lacoste, Nora Hamzawi, Fala Chen, Hippolyte Girardot, Antoine Reinartz
The eight-episode limited series centers around Mira (Alicia Vikander), an American movie star disillusioned by her career and a recent breakup, who comes to France to star as “Irma Vep” in a remake of the French silent film classic, “Les Vampires.” Set against the backdrop of a lurid crime thriller, Mira struggles as the distinctions between herself and the character she plays begin to blur and merge. IRMA VEP reveals to us the uncertain ground that lies at the border of fiction and reality, artifice and authenticity, art and life.