‘The Green Knight’: Alicia Vikander’s 2 Roles Were Inspired by This Enchantress

The Green Knight is a movie adaptation of the 14th-century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Writer/director David Lowery modernized the story and made it truly cinematic. This is largely thanks to the stellar casting decisions, including Oscar-winning actor Alicia Vikander. Lowery explains why he wanted Vikander for two roles and who was the famous name that inspired this decision.

Alicia Vikander plays two roles in ‘The Green Knight’

'The Green Knight' actor Alicia Vikander as the Lady sitting at a candlelit table with a wine goblet
Alicia Vikander | A24 Films

The Green Knight follows Gawain (Dev Patel) when he agrees to take part in a challenge against the mysterious Green Knight. Gawain must strike the stranger in return for a green axe but he must seek him out a year later to receive the same blow. He does as he must, which sets him out on an unbelievable journey. Gawain is unsure if he’s about to be facing his death, which he continues to contemplate over the course of his adventure. He faces several dangers on his path to the mysterious Green Knight.

Vikander plays Essel and the Lady. She appears at the beginning of the story as Gawain’s lover. She’s a common woman that wakes him up in a brothel. However, their story doesn’t end very romantically in a vision that he gets toward the end of the movie. Meanwhile, Gawain meets the Lord’s Lady during his journey. She makes sexual advances toward him and presents him with a familiar green girdle, claiming that she made it herself. Yet, his mother had given him the girdle before he left for his journey.

Alicia Vikander’s roles are based on one famous enchantress

Vikander has previously expressed her passion for having the opportunity to play two characters in The Green Knight. However, some audiences have pondered the meaning of her playing two roles. Lowery explained on the Blu-ray featurettes how the original text inspired him in many different ways, including the decision surrounding Vikander’s roles.

“The idea of her playing multiple characters came because, in the original text, Morgan Le Fay is playing, she plays multiple parts in the world, she disguises herself,” Lowery said. “So I loved the idea of one actor playing multiple parts. Just getting to watch her define these two characters in such different ways and yet finding ways that kind of, reflect one another, was really stunning.”

There are bridges linking the two characters together, which gives Vikander plenty to work with. They have totally different personas, but they serve very crucial elements in Gawain’s journey. Lowery’s adaptation borrows plenty from the source material but also tweaks it to make it his own.

‘The Green Knight’ is a journey

Morgan Le Fay is an enchantress who acts as the puppet master throughout Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. She appears throughout the movie, including as Gawain’s own mother. However, this totally changes some interpretations of the movie.

A24’s film The Green Knight is now available on Blu-ray, 4K, and on digital.

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