If you're making a Fall thriller and need an imposing yet affecting villain, look no further than Sylvia Hoeks. The Dutch actress broke big in 2017 as evil android Luv in Blade Runner 2049, and this year she's back on the silver screen as Camilla Salander, sister of hacker Lisbeth in The Girl in the Spider's Web. Head of a legacy crime syndicate, the red-coated Camilla is a very dangerous presence in the movie, and that's before you get to the tortured childhood with her twin.
All of that context proved to be the topics of our conversation when Screen Rant sat down with Hoeks to discuss The Girl in the Spider's Web. You can watch the interview above or check out the transcript below.
The interesting thing about Camilla as a character in this movie is that so much of her presence is hidden. When she turns up, there's already so much implied history. So when she meets Lisbeth, it's quite a powerful moment but the relationship is powerful because of the absence. How did you guys work on getting that chemistry right, because that's quite a tough relationship to do - and the moment you start interacting, you're going to influence it.
Yeah, and that's why Fede [Alvarez, director] didn't want us to hang out. So we did everything separately, going to costume fittings, makeup fittings, everything. We didn't see each other, and he really wanted to keep that distance between us. And he was right because I really like her and we would have had a much harder time giggling in-between the takes, being stupid as you do in-between takes, because you are stupid because it makes it fun. But yeah, I think he did a great job of keeping us apart.
So when you talk about the makeup and the costuming, did Claire not see you in that big red impressive getup until on the set?
Yeah... I think so. I don't think... maybe she did. Maybe she saw photos or something, but I think, yeah, for us to see each other for the first time, opposite... I mean, it was not... we didn't shoot it very chronologically.
Have you read the book, The Girl in the Spider's Web?
I wanted to talk about some of the changes made to the character because she's quite different in the book. Much more straight-up sadistic, whereas she's much more sympathetic here. I think both characters work in their respective stories, but I wondered if you could talk about how you feel about those changes and how you think it affects Camilla as a character - and how audiences are going to react to her.
Well, that was the most important thing for me taking Camilla on as a character - to find the vulnerabilities and to find openings for the audience to be able to identify with her, to explain "I'm here because that happened to me." Not only to show her as a victim, to show her as a powerful woman as well, [and] to show that vulnerability in a sense that, you know, "why didn't you come for me, why did you help everybody else?" And you get a reaction from Lisbeth, a reaction that, as an audience, it does something to you. When I read the script, the girl that overcomes everything can't look at her past, she can't look at it, she has to outrun it.
One of the most striking scenes in the film is when you've got the plastic wrapping around Lisbeth, and you're watching. How was it, doing those scenes? That is a highly emotional scene, and to do it with that coldness, how was that scene shot and how did it impact you as an actor?
It's interesting what happens when you take on a role, I think. What happens to me - without sounding too spiritual or too hippy I guess - what happens most of the time you do a lot of research and you get into the character, and at a certain moment it's like the character takes over. It's like you're on set and you're in the moment, and all of sudden she's there, she's like "Hey. I'm here, let's do this." So a lot of the times I'm in the moment and I let it lead me, I guess, in a certain direction. Instead of anticipating what is going to happen.
And I'd be remiss not talking about Blade Runner 2049, which was one of my favorite films of last year, which you also played a warped mirror of the main character. Taking on this role, did you notice those parallels and did you do anything to make sure Luv and Camilla were maintained as these very different people?
Hence the look. The look was very important for me. When I read the script, I loved Camilla, that was the most important thing for me. To show her vulnerability, but really be different from Luv. I saw... that's true, she mirrors again someone's pain and someone's longing, right? And for me, Luv was such a different creature. A very muscular, perfect almost android, where Camilla has the scars on her face. And that's why I wanted to show that pain and the damage already in the beginning. Because I don't have a lot of time to explain it to the audience, so I wanted, from the moment she steps in, I wanted that paleness, the look and the scars to see I've had a difficult time. This is me.
- The Girl in the Spider's Web (2018) release date: Nov 09, 2018