Famke Janssen Dishes On Her European Heist Film The Vault - Exclusive

There's a wonderful scene in Famke Janssen's new heist thriller, The Vault, where the acclaimed X-Men and Taken star drops an F-bomb with some serious authority. It's such an entertaining line that it will undoubtedly make viewers laugh out loud, and Janssen said she's happy to provide the means to laughter to break the tension in such trying times.

"To be honest with you, filming is fun and now, especially with the pandemic and everybody's lives being affected so much, and the fact that none of us have been able to work and now finally just starting to go back to work — I feel so privileged that I've been able to do a job that provides humor or joy or excitement in people's homes, and we need these things right now," Janssen told Looper in an exclusive interview. (She also revealed what really drives her as an actor.)

Now playing in theaters as well as digital, and video on demand, The Vault stars Freddie Highmore as Thom, a college-age engineering wiz who is presented with a tantalizing offer by deep-sea salvager Walter (Liam Cunningham): help devise a plan to break into the Bank of Spain's seemingly impenetrable vault to recover a treasure trove of invaluable artifacts that Walter and his crew pulled up from the depths of the Atlantic. Janssen plays Margaret, a British official who tries to warn Walter that the risk is too great, and he should just simply call it a day with his career, walk away, and enjoy the simpler things in life.

Is it okay to 'steal' what's rightfully yours?

The Vault begins with Walter and his crew pulling up from the ocean a treasure trove that once belonged to Elizabethan English sea captain Sir Francis Drake, only to have the find seized by the Spanish government and placed in the vault underneath the Bank of Spain— a fortress so complex that it has been dubbed a "miracle of engineering."

As such, the core narrative of The Vault presents an interesting dilemma to audiences: Since Walter poured all of the time and resources into finding the treasure, shouldn't it be his? Should he and his crew be considered thieves for stealing back what is rightfully theirs? Furthermore, should audiences be rooting for them even though they're breaking the law?

"I think that in a heist movie you want to root for the thieves because if you don't, you're going to have a problem because they're the ones who are driving the story forward. So yes, of course," Janssen told Looper. "[The story] was well-crafted, and the reason why in the end you hope that something is going to happen on the side of the thieves, because you've been rooting for them all along. And Margaret, of course, is a bit — you don't know where you stand with her for the longest time. And does she make the right decision or not?"

Famke Janssen loves how The Vault is distinctly European

Directed by Jaume Balaguero, The Vault also stars Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Luis Tosar, and Sam Riley. The film is unique in that the heist is set amid a real-life event from 2010, when Spain was a participant in the World Cup soccer final. Part of the strategy, Walter says in the film, is to take advantage of the country's passion for soccer. Thousands of fans crowd the streets in the vicinity bank building, so the hope is that they will be oblivious to the heist happening right under their noses.

Part of the fun for Janssen working on The Vault stemmed from the film's distinct European flavor — from its international cast and stunning locations, to the use of real-life settings and events.

"It's an old set in Spain, [and the film is] directed by a Spanish director, the cast is from Europe, including myself, being from the Netherlands," Janssen told Looper. "It's well-written and to me, personally, what I loved about it so much was setting it against the backdrop of this big soccer game — or we call it football in Europe — but these big finals that are going on. And so, that makes it so [interesting]. It adds to the drama and it adds to the ticking time clock element of it, and it also makes it ultimately so European, which is fun."

The Vault is now playing in theaters and available on digital, as well as video on demand.