Words by Isobel Davis
On 5th May, Swedish actress Noomi Rapace will take centre stage in Michael Apted’s upcoming thriller Unlocked. Rapace will be playing a CIA interrogator whose plans go awry after unwittingly providing information to terrorists. She must team up with an MI5 agent, played by Orlando Bloom to race against to clock and put a halt to a potential biological attack on London. Noomi has a habit of striving to avoid the mundane, continuously delivering complex and unusual characters. She’s known for going to great lengths to get into character for each role she takes on, and her rapid rise to fame seems inevitable given her grit and determination. In this list, we’ll take a look at Noomi Rapace and her already abundant back catalogue of strong, dark leading ladies.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)
The original Swedish language adaption of Steig Larsson’s bestselling novel of the same name gave Rapace international recognition and a Bafta nomination for her portrayal of Lisbeth Salander. Later reprised in the American version by Rooney Mara, Salander is a refreshingly complex female protagonist. Danish Director Niels Arden Oplev took months to find the perfect Lisbeth, and initially refused Rapace, siting her femininity as her downfall. She then went to incredible lengths to secure this role of a lifetime, she insisted on doing her own stunts and getting real piercings in order to truly embody what her character felt. The story follows Mikael Blomkvist as he delves into the shady past of a wealthy family in order to find out what happened to a teenage girl who disappeared 40 years prior. He recruits the help of troubled computer hacker Lisbeth Salander. Rapace’s ability to flawlessly capture Larsson’s painted and pierced computer punk immediately established her as a global star.
Rapace later landed the leading role in Ridley Scott’s heavily anticipated Alien prequel, Prometheus. Shot using 3D cameras throughout, Prometheus requires no previous knowledge of the Alien franchise. It stands alone as a sci-fi film that asks the big questions, while giving a further glimpse into a familiar universe for Alien fans. Noomi Rapace is on top form, delivering yet another no-nonsense female protagonist, Elizabeth Shaw. Shaw’s strength is realised in a gruesome scene in which she must perform a caesarean on herself after realizing she is pregnant with an alien. Rapace will be reprising her role as Elizabeth Shaw in the upcoming Alien: Covenant.
Dead Man Down (2013)
Rapace reunites with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo director Niels Arden Oplev for his first English language film. This time, Rapace plays Beatrice, a New York beautician seeking revenge on the drunk driver who left her face disfigured. Conveniently, her neighbour Victor (a moody Colin Farrell) is a gangster with a similar obsession with vengeance. This develops into a bizarre budding romance with blackmail, murder and corruption in abundance. Though the double revenge plot is intricate, Oplev doesn’t allow the viewer to become lost while Rapace was praised for her excellent characterisation.
The Drop (2014)
Based on the short story Animal Rescue by Dennis Lehane, The Drop follows the workings of a Brooklyn bar that operates as a drop off spot for Chechen gangsters. The bar is run by cousins Bob, played by Tom Hardy, and Marv, played by the late James Gandolfini in his final role. Rapace is Nadia, a local waitress whose life is swept into dangerous complications after she agrees to help Bob care for an abandoned pit bull puppy that he found in the bin outside her house. The charming pet rescue storyline inevitably intertwines with the criminal underworld.