Created by Olivier Assayas, ‘Irma Vep’ is a comedy-drama series that satirizes the film industry as a whole. Assayas, a celebrated French auteur, revisits his 1996 film of the same name with ‘Irma Vep’ and weaves a complex and meta narrative. In both the 1996 film and 2022 series, director René Vidal remakes the 1915 silent era serial film ‘Les Vampires.’ Vidal in the show has also made a film remake of ‘Les Vampires.’ However, Vidal is portrayed by Jean-Pierre Léaud in Assayas’ film, and he was a decade older when the film was released than Vincent Macaigne, who plays Vidal in the show, in 2022. In real life, Assayas was married to Maggie Cheung, the Hong Kong actress who plays the protagonist in his film, just as Vidal was married to Jade Lee (Vivian Wu), the star of his movie.
The reality bleeding into the reel doesn’t end with the filmmaker. In the show, Mira Harberg, portrayed by Swedish actress Alicia Vikander, is cast to play the role of Irma Vep in Vidal’s remake of his own film. Although Mira has grown up in America, she is also Swedish. The more Mira immerses into her character and learns about Musidora, the actress who played Irma Vep in ‘Les Vampires,’ the more the line between fiction and reality blurs for her. Here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Irma Vep.’ SPOILERS AHEAD.
Irma Vep Recap
After filming the superhero flick ‘Doomsday,’ Hollywood actress Mira Harberg signs on to portray Irma Vep in René Vidal’s series of the same name. Although Vidal’s project is divided into eight parts, the French filmmaker doesn’t consider it a series but an eight-hour-long film. Mira agreed to do the project because of Vidal’s involvement and her admiration of Musidora. Meanwhile, Gautier Parcheminerie (Pascal Greggory), the owner of the Dreamscape cosmetics company, finances the series to have Mira as the brand ambassador.
As Assayas’ series progresses, Vidal becomes increasingly overwhelmed by his insecurities and the pressure of helming a project. After he has an emotional breakdown on the set, he abruptly goes missing, prompting the producers to contact Herman Ray, the Hollywood filmmaker who made ‘Doomsday’ with Mira. Herman is also the husband of Laurie (Adria Arjona), Mira’s former assistant and girlfriend.
In the series finale, titled ‘The Terrible Wedding,’ Mira, Vidal, and the rest of the cast and crew continue filming scenes of their show. Mira’s escapades in the catsuit take her to the hotel room of her former boyfriend Eamonn and his girlfriend, music star Lianna (Kristen Stewart). Despite sleeping with Mira, Eamonn tells Lianna that he hasn’t seen her. Eamonn earlier told Mira that Lianna had suffered a miscarriage. Given that it is never mentioned and neither Lianna nor Eamonn seem particularly grief-stricken during their reunion, it’s possible that the latter lied about the miscarriage. Hearing this, Mira tries to get out but discovers that she can’t walk through walls any longer. This leads Mira to walk across the bedroom just as Eamonn and Lianna are about to have sex, but neither of them notices.
Mira is overjoyed after she learns she is being considered to star in a project from a celebrated Hollywood director, who makes films once in five years, and goes to meet him in London. She gently rejects Zoe and tells her that all her intimate moments with other women who are not Laurie have been an attempt to recreate what she had with her.
Irma Vep Ending: Does Vidal Complete Filming Les Vampires?
Yes, Vidal succeeds in finishing ‘Les Vampires.’ From the start, it’s quite apparent that he is an admirer of Louis Feuillade, the writer and director of the 1915 serial film. Macaigne portrays Feuillade in the scenes depicting events from Musidora’s memoirs, while Vikander plays Musidora herself. Vidal wants the project to be as faithful to Feuillade’s original vision as possible, claiming he took enough creative liberties with the film. This invariably brings him into conflict with the producers, the cast, and the rest of the crew. In episode 5, titled ‘Hypnotic Eyes,’ this is especially enunciated after filming a sensitive scene, where it is heavily implied that Juan-José Moréno rapes Irma Vep. Several members of the production accuse Vidal of using Feuillade as an excuse. However, Vidal points out to them that they are actually taking the side of the police chief who wanted to shut down the production and not Musidora, who defended her director.
Vidal is one of the few people who are able to see Mira while she prowls around in her catsuit. Perhaps the reason for this is that he is already having a vision-like interaction with Jade, who isn’t really there either. After finishing ‘Les Vampires,’ Vidal contacts his wife and asks her to return to Paris. His wife knows how he gets during shooting, so she takes their children and goes to stay with her family in the countryside every time he is directing a movie.
Why Does Mira Leave without Telling Anyone after the Production Is Complete?
Mira leaves Paris immediately after Irma Vep is killed and the filming is completed. Neither she nor her agent takes any calls from the Dreamscape executives. Parcheminerie knows that he can’t pursue legal action against Mira because she is a famous actress, and it will turn the public opinion against Dreamscape. Unlike in 1996, where Maggie Cheung’s protagonist is an observer of the chaos around her, Mira is very much involved in the narrative. Assayas calls her an “active engine” during an interview with Vulture in May 2022.
As mentioned above, she has been in Paris to work with Vidal and due to her fascination with Musidora. In the course of the series, Mira becomes Irma Vep, breaking into people’s homes and hotel rooms dressed in the catsuit in vision-like sequences. After the production is done, she leaves both Irma Vep and the darkness the character embodies behind so she can immerse herself in her next role.
Read More: Is HBO’s Irma Vep a Remake or a Sequel?