Alicia Vikander returns for her first major leading film role since 2018’s “Tomb Raider” with the Netflix neo-noir “Earthquake Bird.” Adapted from a novel by Susanna Jones, the film stars Vikander as Lucy, an American expat living in 1980s Tokyo who falls into a dangerous relationship with a native photographer, played by Naoki Kobayashi. Vikander meets Lily, played by Riley Keough (recently seen in “Under the Silver Lake,” but even better in TV’s “The Girlfriend Experience”). Lily is new to Japan, but just as soon vanishes under eerie circumstances. The film also stars Jack Huston.
“Earthquake Bird” is written and directed by Wash Westmoreland, whose “Colette” earned acclaim for Keira Knightley in 2018, while his “Still Alice” won Julianne Moore an Academy Award for Best Actress. Westmoreland spoke with Entertainment Weekly, which had the exclusive trailer, about making “Earthquake Bird” on-location, including at Toho Studios, where many of the contemporary and classic “Godzilla” films were shot. “Working with Alicia was kind of a dream,” the filmmaker told Entertainment Weekly about collaborating with Vikander, an Academy Award winner herself for “The Danish Girl.”
“The part was very demanding. About 20 percent of it is in Japanese, so we needed an actor who would actually study and learn Japanese by rote so she could pull off these scenes,” Westmoreland said. “Alicia has just such a high standard of excellence for everything she does, and she completely aced that part of the challenge. But also, just on a day-to-day level, she’s such a complex and interesting actress, and she always brings so much depth and nuance to every scene.” Westmoreland also said, “It was a terrific experience to go there and work at Toho Studios, at the center of the Japanese film industry… Yes, there’s a big statue of Godzilla right outside the studio. We actually did shoot a scene in the water tank where the original Godzilla comes out of the sea. So you could feel the vibrations!” “Earthquake Bird” is set for theatrical engagements beginning November 1 before a Netflix streaming bow on November 15 — in the company’s tradition of now providing an ample window for exhibitors before streaming their movies.