‘Elisabeth became famous for her small waist, and then she had to keep it’ … Vicky Krieps in Marie Kreutzer’s drama Corsage. Photograph: TCD/Prod.DB/Alamy
Director Marie Kreutzer talks about her latest film, which aims to portray a complex female character – whose story resonates with modern pressures on royal women under the glare of media scrutiny
Marie Kreutzer grew up in Vienna, where the 19th-century empress Elisabeth of Austria is a tourist-shop darling. She smiles from tea towels, chocolate boxes and all manner of tat. “Her face is on every other souvenir. She is not someone who is cool or interesting here,” the director shrugs over Zoom from her apartment in the city.
So, when the Phantom Thread actor Vicky Krieps suggested they make a biopic about Elisabeth (or “Sisi”, as she is affectionately known), Kreutzer laughed it off. “I didn’t think she was serious.” The pair had worked together on 2016’s We Used to Be Cool.