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Maggie Cheung’s 1996 Movie, Irma Vep, To Be Remade Into HBO Series Starring Alicia Vikander

Maggie Cheung got hitched with director Olivier Assayas after making the original film.

Maggie Cheung’s 1996 Movie, Irma Vep, To Be Remade Into HBO Series Starring Alicia Vikander

Maggie Cheung’s 1996 French art film Irma Vep is being adapted by HBO into a limited series.

The original film’s French director Olivier Assayas — who was once married to Cheung — will write and direct the remake with Alicia Vikander in the lead role. It will be produced by A24, the team behind HBO’s Zendaya-starring teen drama Euphoria.

Vikander will play Mira, an American movie star disillusioned by her career and a recent breakup, who moves 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.

The original Irma Vep starred Cheung as a fictionalised version of herself. It screened in the Un Certain Regard section of the 1996 Cannes Film Festival. The film helped introduced Cheung to a wider Western audience.

In a 2005 interview with The Irish Times, Cheung recalled how Assayas tracked her down and convinced her to star in Irma Vep over a drink. “I didn’t care what the film was about,” she said. “The offer was very tempting when you’re a kind of a lost soul. Someone saying: ‘Come to Paris for six weeks, you’re gonna work very differently with people who don’t know you.’ I had a really good time.”

She went on to marry Assayas but they divorced in 2001. They made another film together, 2004’s Clean, where she played a recovering junkie fighting the custody of her son. The role won her Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival. It was also her last leading role in a feature film.

Since then, Cheung, 56, has gone into semi-retirement. Perhaps Assayas can persuade his ex to give acting another shot in the new Irma Vep for old times’ sake.

Photo: TPG News/Click Photos

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