Irina Derevko, alias Lena Olin

Lena Olin is most well known for her role as Irina Derevko in the J.J. Abrams television show Alias.

Lena Olin is a respected theater and movie actress in her home country of Sweden. She has performed on the stage in Stocholm for the late great director Ingmar Bergman.

Olin starred in one of Bergman's greatest movies, Fanny and Aexander (1982). She is married to movie director Lasse Hallstrom.

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Swedish actress Lena Olin, known to American audiences as Irina Derevko in Alias, was born on March 22, 1955 in Stockholm. She is married to movie director Lasse Hallstrom, who made What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), Cider House Rules (1999), and Chocolat (2000).

Olin's best movies: Fanny and Alexander (1982); The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988); Enemies, A Love Story (1989).

Olin's worst movies: Queen Of The Damned (2002); Darkness (2004); Awake (2007).

Critic's view: Emanuel Levy writes of The Unbearable Lightness Of Being, Exuding abundant sex appeal, Lena Olin looks and behaves seductively. The foreplay and steamy sex with Tomas [Daniel Day Lewis] are some of the most appealing and naturally erotic scenes ever seen in American films... The whole production boasts a subtle, sophisticated European flavor, a result of director Philip Kaufman’s affinity with such a material.

Critic's view: Roger Ebert writes of Awake, I got involved. I felt real suspense. I thought Lena Olin gave a nuanced performance as the mother, who is deeper than we first think, and that the tension between her and [Jessica] Alba was plausible.

Critic's view: IMDb writes of Romeo Is Bleeding, Lena Olin is at her menacing best; this is surely the role which landed her the gig as Sidney's subtly venomous mother in Alia, and she takes full advantage of the over-the-top femme fatale characterization with deadly verve... There aren't a lot of actresses who can out-menace Gary Oldman but Lena Olin absolutely pulls it off.

Did you know?: Lena Olin was crowned Miss Scandinavia in 1975.

In Olin's own words

On working with husband Lasse Hallstrom: I know all of Lasse's crew so well. On the movie Chocolat, I worked with Juliette Bincihe again. I first worked with her on The Unbearable Lightness of Being. It was our first international film. I know Johnny Depp, who Lasse has worked with a couple of times. He is a very sweet person and fun to be around.

On her professional feelings about Lasse Hallstrom: I am so proud of him. He is so loved and respected. I watch his crew work day and night for him, not because they're afraid of him but they respect and love him. I have never heard Lasse say an unkind word to anyone on set, which is unusual for directors because they are usually so anxious and stressed out.

On competition for good parts: I have the disadvantage -- sometimes an advantage -- of being from Europe. I have a slight accent. Juliette Binoche and I often compete for the same parts.

On friendship: In the beginning of my career I only cared about my work. I socialized with people I worked with. If we didn't work together, I saw no point in meeting. To go out and just chat felt so meaningless when I could read a good book instead, go to classes, or work out.

The years after The Unbearable Lightness of Being: That time was not good. My career received a tremendous push internationally, but I was not prepared for it. At the same time, I was going through a tough divorce with actor Orjan Ramberg.. But happiness for me is not a relaxing day on the beach. My happiness is tumultuous and chaotic; it pushes and pulls in all directions.

On leaving Alias: I enjoyed Alias tremendously, I loved everybody on the show and it was great fun and the character they created for me was so much fun to play but after a year it was over. I’m very spoiled working in movies where you shoot for three, four months and then you go on to something else. It was hard to imagine shooting the same thing again.

With thanks to Fredrik Fartonen at Aftonbladet

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