Infinity Pool's Alexander Skarsgård And Mia Goth Explain Their Histories With Cinematic Sex And Violence

In Brandon Cronenberg’s Infinity Pool, co-stars Alexander Skarsgård and Mia Goth are front and center in scenes of graphic sex and violence – and it’s not precisely a brand new thing for either star. In their careers, both actors have demonstrated a bold willingness to take part in cinematic extremes, with standout titles from their respective resumes including the heated HBO vampire series True Blood, the witchcraft-centric remake of Suspiria, the dark remake of Straw Dogs, the horrors of X and Pearl (soon to be followed by MaXXXine), and The Northman.

Not all performers are necessarily willing to go to the places that Skarsgård and Goth do, and I recently asked the pair about that aspect of their work.

I interviewed the two actors this week during the virtual press day for Infinity Pool and took the opportunity to inquire about their histories with cinematic sex and violence. I asked if it was a case of them going after certain projects, or certain projects finding them, and Goth said that it’s a bit less specific than that for her. Instead, she explained that the films she makes are those that find her at the right time in her life. Said Goth,

I do believe that there's something quite spiritual to how scripts and projects come to you. I do believe that you read a script right when you are meant to, and you are introduced to these characters at a moment in your life when the timing is right. I like to be pushed as an actor, and I like challenges and I like complicated material. For me, that's far more creatively fulfilling.

Continuing, Mia Goth added that while cinematic sex and violence may be extreme, we live in what could be described as an extreme world, and she finds her work as a way to navigate all of it:

I do believe that life is complicated and messy and quite deranged and disturbed at times perhaps. And it's nice to work through all of that in the material.

As for Alexander Skarsgård, he apparently sees working as an actor as a kind of therapy. In Infinity Pool, for instance, he plays a man who corrodes his soul as a tourist in the lawless world of the ultra-wealthy, and the darkness that he explores in the role of James Foster, he feels, is a healthy thing for him personally.

At the same time, however, that’s not his sole purpose as a performer. He goes to some eye-opening places, but he also works outside of those zones to learn other things about himself as an actor. Said Skarsgård,

To me, I don't have a psychiatrist, so to kind of descend into the abyss when I work is quite cathartic and good. I think that I naturally gravitate towards darker, twisted stories. It's fun to do that, exciting, and psychologically very interesting. But you also want to mix it up and then go and do something that's very, very different 'cause it will trigger something else in you. And it's all about a discovery, isn't it?

Going further, Alexander Skarsgård added that the film and television projects he takes on are also not just about self-reflection or a demonstration of range: he wants to both have fun and challenge himself:

Every time you start a project, you want it to be a journey on which you learn something and discover something about yourself. And to be pigeonholed and end up typecast is something that I've actively tried to work against. And not to show that I have range; More it's I want to have fun on set. I want to be pushed and push myself and challenged. And to play different roles is what it's all about, isn't it?

Audiences will certainly be impressed by just how far both Mia Goth and Alexander Skarsgård go in Infinity Pool, which is over-the-top and rather demented, but also a terrific social satire. The film has earned terrific reviews since its premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, and it is in theaters everywhere this week. Check Fandango for your local listings and to purchase tickets.

To learn more about what’s ahead on the cinema front in the 11 months, check out our 2023 Movie Release Calendar.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.