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The Vault's Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey Reveals What To Expect In Her New Heist Thriller - Exclusive Interview

Over the past decade and a half, French-Spanish actor Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey has been in all different types of movies, but American audiences probably know her best from her two big fantasy roles: the mermaid Syrena in The Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Merlin's mysterious disciple, known only as the Mage, in Guy Ritchie's King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

Get ready for that to change. In her new heist thriller The Vault, Bergès-Frisbey stars as a mysterious criminal known only as Lorraine. While Lorraine is only one part of a crew assembled by the equally enigmatic Walter Moreland (Game of Thrones' Liam Cunningham) to break into the most secure vault in Spain, Lorraine quickly reveals that she's indispensable. If you need a safe cracked, a pocket picked, or someone to don a disguise and go deep undercover, Lorraine's your woman.

Like Lorraine, Bergès-Frisbey is a person of many skills, and The Vault, directed by Jaume Balagueró, is an excellent showcase for many of them. It's also a very personal project for the actress. While The Vault looks like a big-budget Hollywood thriller, it's actually an independent European movie filmed in Bergès-Frisbey's native Spain — something that, as she explains in our exclusive interview, was both a blessing and a curse.

What makes The Vault unique, according to Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey

Heist movies are a time-honored movie tradition. For you, what sets The Vault apart from all the other heist movies out there?

I love that it's European manufactured. It has a twist. It has this European twist. There's something that keeps it human in some sort of way. I would say, also, Luis Tosar. I think he's the original character that makes this movie special.

One of the things that I thought was interesting about it was the way it uses the 2010 World Cup tournament for background. Given that you're from Spain, do you have any memories of that tournament, during which Spain won the World Cup for the first time?

I shot a movie called Pirates of the Caribbean over 10 years ago now. During that World Cup, I was actually in Hawaii shooting that movie, and it's a very beautiful memory of mine because I didn't speak English back in the day. My English was absolutely zero. I would speak sign language to the people.

My only blessing was Penélope Cruz in the film and her crew being there — her crew was Spanish. The crew around her, her make-up artist, her stylist. And also then, the art director was Argentinian. We were this group of Spanish-speaking people that actually went to see the game at something like 7:00 AM with the Hawaiian flowers, and we just started screaming in the street. It was unbelievable.

When I shoot a movie, generally, nothing else exists. I'm really focused. I forget all my friends. I forget my family. I'm only working. I try to keep myself in character as much as possible. And I remember because that movie was so long to shoot, I made an exception with that.

Lorraine is an interesting and mysterious character in The Vault. What about her attracted you to the project?

I like that she's a little off. She's sharp as a knife, has all these different types of skills. But... off.

I liked to make her not fully one thing or another, and that was what I tried to develop with her. I tried to work towards making her another member of the group and certainly not make her the female of the group. I think it was really important that she was a member and a credible member of the group, to just make the group look the way it looks. Just based on her relationship with Walter, for instance, if she wasn't good enough, if she was not legit, there would be no sense of her having been there. And so I tried to give her credibility. I felt really responsible for planning to defend her and to make her the best character possible, to have more identity. I tried to make her not the conventional female character you have in that type of film.

The skills that make Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey a valuable member of The Vault's team

She's pick-pocketing, she's safecracking, and she's very physical in action scenes. Did you get to learn any particularly interesting fun skills or do any interesting training for the part?

[Joking] Cracking safes? I wish we would have seen more of it. When you see the vault, it's challenging because it's this mental way of cracking it, so sometimes you're not in this conventional safe-opening set. But still, you get to see a little bit of it.

Obviously, any sort of training I could, I did. I try in general to do [training]. For Lorraine, I had a lot [to do] on so many different aspects. Even her Italian accent was very challenging. It was exhausting for me to have to work on this English-speaking character that also speaks with a different accent than I have — and all that being in my native country with everyone talking to me. The director would talk to me in Spanish, and then the DP would talk to me in Catalan.

I remember the first time I met Jaume [Balagueró], I was like, "I'm going to ask one thing. I need you to talk to me in English." And I was like, well, thank God Freddie [Highmore] and pretty much the rest of the cast except for Luis is a native English speaker, and we would speak mainly in English. But he was like, "Well, Freddie speaks perfect Spanish." I'm like, "Oh my God, this is going to be pretty much impossible for me."

I thought that first we would shoot half and half in England and in Spain, but all of it was shot in Spain, which is pretty incredible because all the set designs are absolutely gorgeous and accomplished.

If you were on a heist team like this, what would your role and skills be?

How do you call the Swiss knife that you have? The pocketknife?

A Swiss Army knife?

Yeah. So a lot of people call me that as a description because I'm handy and I'm physical and I can be, I don't know, I could actually be someone different. But not a fighter.

The Vault is now screening in theaters and on video-on-demand services.