One of the more touching films we’ve seen this year is “Blue Bayou.”
An official selection of the 2021 Cannes Film Festival from award-winning writer/director Justin Chon, Blue Bayou is the moving and timely story of a uniquely American family fighting for their future. Antonio LeBlanc (Chon), a Korean adoptee raised in a small town in the Louisiana bayou, is married to the love of his life Kathy (Alicia Vikander) and step-dad to their beloved daughter Jessie. Struggling to make a better life for his family, he must confront the ghosts of his past when he discovers that he could be deported from the only country he has ever called home.
We recently spoke with Alicia Vikander about filming “Blue Bayou” in New Orleans and bringing attention to the important issue of legal adoptees being deported away from their families and homes.
“I was a huge admirer of Justin and his work, seeing ‘Gook’ out of Sundance a few years ago,” Vikander told Global Grind of signing on to play Kathy in ‘Blue Bayou. “I read the script and had a similar reaction.”
A native of Sweden, we asked Vikander if she had never had difficulty navigating global travel for work due to her status as an immigrant.
“Yes, but I’m also very privileged,” Vikander told Global Grind. “I’ve just been in a room for eight hours, that is nothing compared to what most people go through. People who on an everyday basis face racism or other issues with immigration.”
Vikander also raved about her experience filming ‘Blue Bayou’ in New Orleans.
“It was the one place in America that I hadn’t been to, that I was dying to see,” Vikander told Global Grind. “I made such beautiful memories. I can’t wait to go back.”
We also spoke to Vikander, who became a mother earlier this year, about her role as Kathy, who has a young daughter Jessie who is adored by Schon’s character Antonio, while also being pregnant with their first child together.
“When I made the film I wasn’t a mother yet,” Vikander told Global Grind. “So you kind of base your references on being a child. The older you get, even when you don’t have children yet, you realize the sacrifices your parents made. Even though I grew up in Sweden, I was in a very working-class area, so Kathy was a kind of woman I had around me too. I don’t think people are that different. I respect people like her, wanting to create a wonderful environment for their children to come up.”
Vikander also spoke about using her privilege to bring attention to racism and discrimination and the need for more films featuring stories about people of color, specifically Asians in this case.
“That was one of the things I wanted to do,” Vikander told Global Grind. “I addressed it when I spoke to Justin the first time. Obviously, it’s reality, sad reality. He has proven himself as an actor, he’s an amazing actor. He’s American, but he has Korean parents so he wouldn’t get any work. It’s people like him, in his situation, and then, of course, knowing my privilege, knowing if I can help in any way to make sure this is something that we progressively try to change because if he can decide ‘I’m going to write and I’m going to direct and I’m going to act in these films, just to make work, that’s more heavy lifting than most people do. Justin is, I hugely admire him and respect him and I felt privileged that I got to take part in his film.
Check out our full interview with Alicia Vikander below:
‘Blue Bayou’ is currently in theaters and On Demand October 8th.