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Why Lena From Beckett Looks So Familiar

It's not uncommon for political and conspiracy thrillers to have a travelogue component underlying their core premise. After all, if you want your movie's stakes to feel extra high, you can't go wrong with ballooning the action to a global, cosmopolitan stage. However, it's not quite as often that conspiracy thrillers use travel as their premise, as is the case of "Beckett," the new star-studded original film that's firing up Netflix.

The film's protagonist, Beckett, a wrongfully accused American tourist on the run from Greek authorities, is brought to life by an already-familiar face: John David Washington, continuing his streak of seemingly nothing but high-profile leading man roles. Washington is not the only cast member who gets to shine in "Beckett:" Among his scene-stealing co-stars, special mention is due to the actress who plays Lena, a political activist Beckett crosses paths with during his effort to reach the U.S. Embassy in Athens before it's too late. This relative newcomer to Hollywood has already established herself as one of the most interesting and dependable actresses of her generation in the span of just a few years, and here's where you might have caught sight of her in that time.

Vicky Krieps had her breakthrough in Europe with The Chambermaid Lynn

Luxembourgish actress Vicky Krieps did her fair share of slow and steady climbing before she got a proper chance to shine, whether we're talking about her U.S. film career or her European credits. After many supporting and minor appearances in German, Luxembourgish, and French productions, as well as American films like "Hanna" and "Anonymous," she finally got her breakthrough in the old continent with 2014's "The Chambermaid Lynn."

An observational comedy-drama in the unique style of German arthouse, "The Chambermaid Lynn" follows Lynn, a hotel maid who's obsessed with cleaning every nook and cranny of rooms even when there's no one staying in them, and who slowly begins to develop a habit of spying on guests from under their beds. The film was well-received at the festival circuit and served as a sturdy showcase for Krieps, who dominated almost every minute of it with quiet, physical, yet profoundly expressive acting. It wouldn't be long until the whole cinephile world became acquainted with Krieps' veritable talents.

She went head-to-head with Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread

When Paul Thomas Anderson announced he was making a new movie set in the fashion world, and that it would star none other than Daniel Day-Lewis in his final role before retirement, the last thing that was going through most people's heads was that "Phantom Thread" could turn out to be largely centered around a little-known Western European actress.

Sure enough, Vicky Krieps' Alma Elson turned out to be the de-facto protagonist of "Phantom Thread." More than being the story of renowned stylist Reynolds Woodcock and his initiation of a turbulent romantic relationship with his latest muse, the 1950s-set dramedy was the story of how Alma, a seemingly "ordinary" woman, responded to being absorbed into Reynolds' bizarre, megalomaniac little world — first with devotion and acquiescence, then with a highly peculiar flavor of revolt. The film has as much in common with the Merchant Ivory period dramas it pays stylistic homage to as with Anderson's own dense studies of power and psychological warfare, and even with something like "Fifty Shades of Grey." In a sense, it's effectively the story of Vicky Krieps taming Daniel Day-Lewis.

Krieps rose to the occasion handsomely, impressing critics all over the world with the fearless way she lunged into an acting duel with the greatest thespian of his generation. Alma became one of the most iconic movie characters of 2017, and Krieps won countless awards for Best Actress and Best Breakout Performance (via IMDb).

Krieps became a staple of German television with Das Boot

Wolfgang Petersen's "Das Boot" is one of the most popular German films of all time, so it stands to reason that a TV series based on it would eventually happen. Major German network Sky One premiered its take on "Das Boot" in late 2018, adapting Lothar-Günther Buchheim's original 1973 book as well as its 1995 sequel.

A sequel to the classic WWII film, "Das Boot" also follows the crew of the U-612 U-Boat in parallel with the stories of people in the German-occupied port town of La Rochelle. One of those people is Simone Strasser, a translator at the German Navy headquarters who becomes involved with her brother's morphine running and soon finds herself embroiled in French Resistance activities. This leaves her torn between her home country and her increasing awareness of the truth behind the war.

The role, which lasted for two seasons, was Vicky Krieps' biggest and most visible one yet in Germany, and helped her become widely known among mainstream audiences there. Once again, she won multiple awards for her performance, including a German Television Award for Best Actress (via IMDb).

She threw herself into the madness of M. Night Shyamalan's Old

When it comes to mainstream Hollywood visibility, the most notorious role of Vicky Krieps' career so far is easily Prisca Cappa in "Old," the bizarre M. Night Shyamalan thriller that's making waves in theaters around the U.S. Alongside Gael García Bernal as Guy Cappa, Krieps plays one of the two parents who make up the unsuspecting nuclear family at the film's center.

In typical Shyamalanian fashion, "Old" begins with a grounded dramatic setup, then wastes no time in disrupting it by way of an ultra-high concept: A middle-class family in the throes of divorce — he an actuary, she a museum curator, their kids young and confused — travels to a beach for one last family vacation before mom and dad go their separate ways. Then, the beach turns out to be aging its occupants ultra-rapidly and keeping them from leaving. As the family and the other beachgoers scramble to figure out what to do, Prisca and Guy's marital crisis is suddenly thrown into sharp perspective, giving Krieps and Bernal the chance to explore a tricky dramatic register while delivering on the blockbuster chills promised by the premise.

Though the film as a whole was highly polarizing, Krieps was praised by many, with the Los Angeles Times' Justin Chang complimenting the way her "lovely, breathy understatement finds expressive notes," and TheWrap's Todd Gilchrist noting that she's been "woefully underused (in American films, anyway)" since her "Phantom Thread" breakthrough.

Krieps embodies the challenges of the artistic process in Bergman Island

"Old" is not the only Vicky Krieps-starring 2021 film about a couple going through a crisis at a strange beach. Acclaimed French auteur Mia Hansen-Løve also put her at the center of her latest film, "Bergman Island," which follows two husband-and-wife filmmakers as they visit the Baltic island of Fårö, where Swedish master Ingmar Bergman spent most of his life, and attempt to find some much-needed inspiration there.

A less famous writer-director living under the shadow of her husband Tony's (Tim Roth) high-profile work, Krieps' Chris wanders around the titular island in a seemingly small-stakes yet deeply significant quest for her own muse, warding off the specter of Bergman's unmatchable genius all the while; finally, she lands on a story, and begins to tell it to her husband. From that point on, we start following a film-within-a-film, starring Mia Wasikowska as a proxy for Chris — who is, in turn, a proxy for Mia Hansen-Løve herself.

This highly meta effort, in which reality and fiction soon collapse into each other in unpredictable ways, marks Krieps' welcome return to arthouse abstruseness four years after the lurid dom-sub romance of "Phantom Thread." Reviews out of Cannes, where the film competed for the Palme d'Or, indicate that "Bergman Island" is no tough sit: Hansen-Løve has always stood out from her peers for her breezy, patient, pleasantly watchable style. It's no wonder she was drawn to an actress as tactful and delicate as Krieps. If you're eager to see what their collaboration has yielded, look out for the announcement of a stateside release date by official U.S. distributor IFC Films (via Deadline).