IN Blade Runner 2049 she plays a ‘replicant’, a bioengineered human who kills several men while getting her nails done. In real life Sylvia Hoeks is far warmer. Thankfully.
‘I was only nine or ten when my parents showed my sisters and me the first Blade Runner,’ she recalls, ‘I was so overwhelmed, I couldn’t sleep that night. My breath just stuck in my throat. I couldn’t analyse it: the music, the rain, the darkness, that room with the dolls and Daryl Hannah as Pris: I thought the style was very high fashion.’
Clearly, high fashion is as effortless as breathing to Hoeks, who today is looking relaxed in a floor-length, multi-panelled Christopher Kane foil skirt and strappy Pierre Hardy heeled sandals. She was talent-spotted by an Elite modelling scout in a mall at 14, but acting was always her goal since her telly-addicted childhood in Dutch village Maarheeze.
‘I was not really a model in my heart,’ she says. ‘I would be in Paris and would feel homesick, like I didn’t really belong. My first job was to be the cover of Elle Girl and I hated the photo because they made me smile big, like a happy frog!’
Not much smiling goes on in Blade Runner 2049, the sci-fi sequel to Ridley Scott’s dystopian classic that’s set to launch Hoeks into Hollywood. She’s moved to LA in anticipation. But the 34-year-old Hoeks has ten movies to her credit, and has acted in Dutch, Flemish, French, German and Russian as well as English. Even so, she had to pinch herself on the set of Blade Runner 2049.
‘I was so nervous on my first day with Harrison [Ford],’ she says, ‘but he spent the day telling me jokes — he’s so funny! He and Ryan [Gosling] are like the two grumpy old men from The Muppet Show, giving all these funny remarks about everything.’
Preparing for the shoot was no breeze. Hoeks underwent three months of intensive training with world champion triathlete Lesley Paterson.
‘She is this muscular little Scottish lady with a fierce attitude!’ she laughs. ‘The worst was cardio. It was insane. After two and a half hours you have to go on the bike and do HIIT training. My brain was screaming: “I can’t do it any more!” But I meet my character in that pain.’
So what next? ‘I am waiting for something I really love,’ she says. ‘There is such a big buzz around Blade Runner 2049 that I have had many offers. But it is a tough act to follow.’
Sylvia’s style gurus
‘I love Tilda Swinton’s strong, daring sense of style. At the same time I am a Vanessa Paradis fan, with her French floral romanticism.’
Blade Runner 2049 is in cinemas from today