How Crazy Was It To Film A Heist Movie In One Take? Not At All, According To This Actress

Photo: David Heerde/REX USA.
Victoria is one of the coolest, most oh my god, I can’t believe this is happening movies you will see this year. Directed by Sebastian Schipper, the film tells the story of Victoria, a young Spanish woman living in Berlin who meets some German guys in a nightclub and follows them into the night. It starts out innocently enough, even if there's something slightly unnerving about a girl latching onto a group of men who are chill about petty thievery. But, just when you think the night is winding down, the men rob a bank and enlist Victoria as their driver. She transforms from a lonely, flirty young woman into a cunning criminal. It gets bloody.

Did we mention it was largely improvised?

Oh, and also shot in one take?

The cast and crew shot the entire movie three times, between approximately 4:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. over three nights in Berlin. Some might call that insane — or, at least exhausting. But not Laia Costa, who plays the title character.

“Sebastian is saying all the time to journalists, 'You’d wet your pants if you tried to do this! You would bleed!'” she said during a recent interview in New York. “For me, it was kind of easy because I was just focused on Victoria.”

Maybe Costa's nonchalance is not so surprising, considering that the 30-year-old Barcelona-native signed on for the role knowing hardly a thing about the character. She says that over coffee, Schipper told her, “'I can tell you that right now it’s a robbery, you’re going to rob a bank, and it’s going to be one take and one shot and you have to spend three months in Berlin.'”

So in she jumped, nailing down who Victoria was through rehearsals. A graduate of the University of Barcelona with a PhD in political science and media studies, Costa was happy to play a party girl — and then go back to her quieter life. “I’ve never partied like I party in the film,” she said. At the same time, she does see Victoria — an accomplished piano player who has given up music — as emblematic of a generation. “She explains a reality that is nowadays [the norm for] our generation," the actress told us. "It’s this disappointment of, I’ve been following the rules, I have studied, I have a couple of masters, I can speak three languages — where’s my fucking job? Where’s my promised land?”

Before Victoria, Costa had never done serious improv and had acted in only one other film where she spoke English (a Russian one, as it happens). In Spain, she has starred on television shows like Polseres vermelles, which was remade for Fox as the short-lived Red Band Society. As we talked, Costa sometimes paused to confirm that she was using the right English word or that her pronunciation was correct. It can make for a confusing interview at times, but worked just fine in Victoria. “At one point, Sebastian was saying to me, 'Fuck the language. I want to understand you, but I’d really like it if you talk badly,'” she shared. “For example, instead of saying ‘The car’s not working,’ I say, ‘It is not going on.’ I think it’s beautiful to see that she and [the guys in the film] cannot really talk good English, and that’s a thing they have to play [with] to understand each other.”

Enough to rob a bank, at least. Watch a trailer for the film, below.

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