Studio Photoshoots > Photoshoots from 2016 > Session 016
LA TIMES – Michael Fassbender tensed up for the briefest instant when the topic of his relationship with Alicia Vikander, both his co-star and his girlfriend, arose.
Then he relaxed and offered a Zen thought. “People will make the presumptions they want to make. If you start to defend anything, it becomes, ‘Methinks the lady doth protest too much,’ ” the actor said, when asked if he thought moviegoers would draw real-life inferences from his work.
“I mean, have you seen ‘Shame?’ ” he quipped, referring to his 2011 portrayal of a sex addict. Vikander, sitting next to him, let loose a sharp laugh.
The pair were side by side at a downtown hotel here recently, polite and formal and trying not to seem like they’re a couple — while trying not to seem like they were trying not to seem like a couple.
Over the course of a conversation, about their new movie “The Light Between Oceans,” they could be professional, even distant. But they also jumped in often to finish each other’s sentences in a manner that reinforced their couplehood — an embodiment of the contradiction that occurs when the modern imperative to stay on message collides with the even more modern reality of everyone knowing everything about everybody.
Since the days of early Hollywood, actors have been falling for each other on set. And for pretty much just as long, we’ve been obsessed with them.
From Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor on Cleopatra in the early 1960s, engaging in a moltenly dysfunctional affair, to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie on Mr. & Mrs. Smith in the mid-2000s, also initiating a romance outside one partner’s committed relationship, mid-production hookups have been a regular source of film-fan fascination.
The reason has often had as much to do with us as them: These relationships offer the universal touchstone of the office romance, only more heightened and surreal.
But as it has in so many other areas, the age of social media and rampant exposure has changed the equation. When Jolie and Pitt were first rumored to be together on the Mr. & Mrs. Smith set, the idea of an affair broadcast widely using modern media tools was still new. It compelled us for months, right up through when the film landed in theaters.
Even reporting in that pre-TMZ era was tricky — for a time there was just one stealth photograph of the couple holding hands on set, kicking off a feeding frenzy to the set by glossy magazines and TV shows.
Because every iPhone-bearing fan in a corner Starbucks has now become a reporter, that kind of surprise — never mind a slow-burn reveal — is almost nonexistent these days. Knowledge about star pairings comes at us much faster, the secrets far fewer.
Into this climate arrive Fassbender, Vikander and the love story of “Light,” unloosing a rippling cinematic view on the real lives of two very private people (or at least the appearance of their real lives.)