Millennium, Prometheus, Lamb … Noomi Rapace looks back on 5 key roles of his career –…

In the singular “Lamb” poster, on December 29 at the cinema, Swedish actress Noomi Rapace talks about 5 experiences that changed her career, from the role that revealed her in “Millennium” to her return to Icelandic cinema .

The first time that Noomi Rapace appeared on the screen was in 1988 in an Icelandic film called Shadow of the Raven by Hrafn Gunnlaugsson. She was only 9 years old at the time. Thirty-three years later, the actress returns to Iceland with Valdimar Jóhannsson’s Lamb. This folk tale, winner of the Originality Prize in the Un certain regard at Cannes section, features an isolated couple whose life will change after the discovery of a strange lamb.

Whether at the heart of a blockbuster or on the poster of an independent film, the Swedish star has often distinguished herself in roles of empathetic, complex and combative women. While in Paris, she looked back on her career, in particular on 5 films, which had a significant impact on her career. Encounter without filter.

His look on … Millennium

Role: the enigmatic and punk Lisbeth Salander

It was in 2009 that Noomi Rapace was revealed to the whole world with the Millennium trilogy, adapted from the novels of Stieg Larsson. Having become emblematic, this hacker role quickly became her signature character.


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Noomi Rapace in the skin of Lisbeth Salander.

Lisbeth Salander takes me back to a period of my life that was complicated. At that time, I still had great suffering within me. She is a woman who is associated with a chapter in my past with a lot of scars. And at the same time, it was thanks to her that I felt represented in the most honest way possible. Lisbeth and I are one person, and in my job, I believe a lot in sincerity.

This is why this role changed my career and allowed me to live all the experiences that followed. As an actress, I don’t want to pretend, I want to hide behind my character, I want to be honest. Besides, Maria, my character in Lamb and Lisbeth are alike. They are very close to me, they look a lot like me. ”

His look on … Prometheus

As: Scientist Elizabeth Shaw

In 2012, she was chosen by Ridley Scott to play the lead role in Alien‘s prequel, Prometheus. Globally, the film is a huge success, raising over $ 400 million.


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Noomi Rapace in “Prometheus”.

Ridley Scott offered me a place in Hollywood saying: “I want to work with you, I want you to play the heroine of my next movie and you have nothing to prove to me. ” I didn’t even need to audition! He already knew what he wanted. But above all, he regarded me with enormous respect and gave me a lot of space. I never had to fight to exist, which allowed me to be… just myself.

It’s something that I keep looking for every role. I try to be myself. So for me it’s much more than Prometheus or the inheritance ofAlien, it is a film that allowed me to create a bridge between the Noomi of Scandinavian films and that of Hollywood films. And I love Elizabeth Shaw. She has a lot of empathy and a good understanding of the human race.. ”

His look on … Passion

Role: the discreet, but dangerous Isabelle

In the process, still in 2012, Noomi Rapace works under the direction of one of the greatest directors of Hollywood: Brian de Palma. On this remake of the French film Love crime Alain Corneau, she gives the answer to Rachel McAdams, whom she had met on the set of Sherlock Holmes 2: Game of shadows.


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The actress plays Isabelle in this film by Brian De Palma.

I was very intrigued by the relationship between my character and that of Rachel McAdams. They are very complex and desperate women, with a whole game of admiration, seduction and hatred. I felt like I was in a minefield, you never know when it’s going to explode. It was a very difficult shoot, psychologically. I did a lot of research on psychopaths and met a professor who specializes in the subject. I was playing a woman with sociopathic disorders, which means she has no empathy. It was a different way of working.

With Brian De Palma… [elle marque un temps de pause, NDLR] there were a lot of clashes! He comes from another era and I have a lot of character myself. I think he used to tour with women who do whatever he asks. We held on long enough, and then we finally found a working rhythm. She was an old movie monster who met a young rebel so obviously… But it was a very interesting and stimulating shoot.

His gaze on … Seven Sisters

Roles: the sisters Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday …

In Tommy Wirkola’s sci-fi thriller Seven Sisters, she plays not one, but seven different roles. Noomi Rapace lends his features to 7 personalities whose first names are associated with the days of the week. In France, Seven sisters collected nearly 2 million entries.


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In “Seven Sisters”, she brings 7 different characters to life.

This film was one of the most difficult experiences for me. I had to plan everything, it was impossible for me to improvise. Usually, to play is to be in the moment. I react to what I am given, it is a sharing. Alone, I had to create the communication. It was almost up to me to do the scenes with the director, Tommy Wirkola. I had to rehearse and make decisions long before shooting. It was a real challenge. For example, when one of my characters dies, the others start to cry. So I have to react to my own death and find 5 different ways to express grief and pain.

So you had to be very prepared and put your vanity aside. In any case, vanity has no place in acting. You can’t play while wondering if you’re looking good on camera. I looked at myself in the monitor to see if everything was consistent, not if I was pretty or not. In total, the shoot lasted 94 days and it was like that from start to finish. When I came back to London, I couldn’t even talk to people anymore. I was emptied.

His gaze on … Lamb

Role: the mutique María

With Lamb, she returns to the Icelandic language for the first time since her childhood. Above all, she plays in front of the camera of Valdimar Jóhannsson, whom she had met on the set of Prometheus a decade earlier. At that time, the filmmaker was working as a technician on Ridley Scott’s film, part of which was shot in Iceland.


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Noomi Rapace in “Lamb”.

When I was shooting the movie, I had the feeling that something special was being prepared, at least it was for me. But I was far from thinking that it was going to be for so many people. I did not expect that. I was talking to Valdimar in London a few days ago and telling him that everything that has been happening around the film since its premiere in Cannes is just bonus, over and over again.

This film has already given me so much. Being in Iceland, filming with the lambs, playing a woman like María, bringing her to life… all that were already gifts for me. And taking part in this story of mending, healing, and motherhood is something that I needed to do in my life.

Interview by Thomas Desroches, in Paris, December 13, 2021.

Report from Iceland – in the footsteps of Icelandic cinema:

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