OSCAR: Noomi Rapace Q&A

This year Hollywood types everywhere were discussing the Swedish films made from Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy of books — The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest. Noomi Rapace has already won the Swedish equivalency for her portrayal of Lisbeth Salander. But the most recent actress to appear in a small foreign film, get an out–of–the–blue nomination, win the Best Actress Oscar, then land big roles in major studio tentpoles was Marion Cotillard. Noomi’s U.S. agents and managers have assured her: “You can have that same journey.” Pete Hammond recently spoke to Noomi Rapace about her role and Oscar chances:

DEADLINE: What do you think of the American remake of these movies that David Fincher is directing in Sweden?
NOOMI RAPACE: That’s weird. They’re doing it with a Swedish accent as well. That’s also pretty weird. But I’m quite okay with it. I really knew in my heart that I totally loaned myself to her and she took over most of my life. When it was released and they started to talk about the remake, people asked me and I said. ‘No, I’m done with her.’ And then everybody came back to me and said, ‘But it’s David Fincher.’ There can’t be any reason to do it again. I don’t want to repeat myself. Hopefully they will do something far away from our films.

DEADLINE: Are you the kind of actor who can leave the set and forget about it?
RAPACE: No, never. That’s quite difficult for me. She stayed in me like non–stop for the whole time. The last scene was quite strange. All the producers came in with champagne as they wanted to celebrate, and I had to go to the bathroom because I started to throw up. I knew my whole body was just throwing Lisbeth away and cleaning itself from Lisbeth in a way. And the next day I remember standing at home looking at myself in the mirror with this Mohawk, and all those scars from the piercings, and I asked, ‘Who are you today?’, and I had no idea. It was actually one week and I was pretty lost and then I started to rehearse Medea.

DEADLINE: Was the role of Lisbeth Salander something you went after?
RAPACE: No, I’ve never actually called anyone to say, ‘I want to do this’ or ‘please consider me’. I’m not that kind of person.

DEADLINE: Did you think you were right for her?
RAPACE: I thought they would judge me for being too girlie because of the way I look in my private life. I look much more feminine. Sometimes people can’t really see that you can transform into something that is pretty far from the way you look today. But I knew that. So I was quite surprised when they called me and wanted me to come in for an interview. So I went and I said to myself, ‘don’t hope for anything, they won’t call you back,’ so when they did I borrowed clothes from my husband and I met the director, and I told him, ‘If you want me to do it, I would like to do all my stunts. I want to really change myself into her, change my body, and pierce myself, and take a license for motorcycle, and do everything as far as is possible, as I think I know something about her. So if you trust me, I will give her to you.’ And he did.

DEADLINE: Was it an advantage as an actor having books to draw on instead of just the script?
RAPACE: I used it a lot. It’s like you have the whole background, you can dig, and you can take things that are useful, and find some clues to who she is today and all that. Lisbeth is something between Noomi and something in the script.

DEADLINE: Are you surprised at the strong reaction in America to you and the movies?
RAPACE: I’m very self critical. I always expect people not to hate me but to not like me. When they announced that I was the one who was going to play Lisbeth, it felt like a suicide mission because it’s not possible to satisfy everybody. And I thought they will probably hate me. I had to close my eyes and my ears and just create some kind of protecting bubble around me to be able to listen to my own voice and find her in me.

DEADLINE: There’s been Oscar buzz which I would think must mean something to you?
RAPACE: I want people to believe in what I am doing, and I want people to be able to see a character that I’m playing, and to think that she’s a real person. So when people do that, that makes me so warm inside. I don’t dare think about the Oscars and all that. It’s too far away.

  1. >>>The last scene was quite strange. All the producers came in with champagne as they wanted to celebrate, and I had to go to the bathroom because I started to throw up.

    That is so great. The same reaction Lisbeth would have had to such a scene.

  2. “I don’t dare think about the Oscars and all that. It’s too far away.”

    Much closer than you think!

  3. Hopefully for her, only 3 slots seem to be ‘locked’ at the moment (Portman-Bening-Kidman), so with the a good campaign, she could have a shot at a nomination. Although there are a lot of big names/previous nominees ahead of her already, too bad her films came out in a year when basically all the Hollywood A-list ladies seem to be bringing their A-game

    At the moment, I think it looks like this

    1. Natalie Portman (frontrunner)
    2. Annette Bening (runner-up)
    3. Nicole Kidman (potential spoiler – in the best way possible)
    Strong contenders
    4. Michelle Williams (based on performances, she should get a nod)
    5. Jennifer Lawrence (fading buzz reminds me of Cornish – not good)
    6. Hilary Swank (I can see her get the 5th slot – and she would deserve it)
    7. Julianne Moore (internal competition is fatal in this case)
    8. Sally Hawkins (not enough buzz at the moment)
    9. Carey Mulligan (could be a surprise nominee)
    10.Diane Lane (need a strong Disney-push)
    Potential surprises
    11.Gwyneth Paltrow (needs strong precursors and/or strong BO and/or strong reviews)
    12.Halle Berry (late-entry, but the PC-factor definitely helps her case)
    13.Noomi Rapace (too strong year, too many in her age-group ahead of her)
    14.Naomi Watts (dying buzz, she is due for a second nod, though)
    15.Tilda Swinton (ditto, ESPECIALLY after the Julia-snub)
    Category confusion
    16. Lesley Manville (she was phenomenal, but she was supporting)
    17. Anne Hathaway (the film received mediocre reviews, but she got some raves, not enough for a lead nod, but with a smart move she could be still a strong contender in the at the moment “starless” supporting category)

    1. RE: Halle Berry and the “PC” factor, why is it that whenever a black person attains anything on earth racist people like you need to attribute it to someone’s desire to be “PC”? Sheesh, give it a break.

      1. (Ok, this will be a long post, and English isn’t my first language, so sorry in advance for any grammatical errors.)

        RLS, that was a truly disgusting reply. How dare you call me racist for pointing out that PC IS A FACTOR when it comes to awards ?
        If you think it is not, you are dellusional.
        If you think it is not, I would like you to explain all the recent “whitest Oscar ever” articles.
        If you think PC is not a factor, I would like you to tell me WHAT gave the edge to Denzel Washington in 2001 (no big precursor wins) over Russel Crowe (SAG-Golden Globe-BAFTA-BFCA WINS) ? Do you know who has ever lost the Best Actor race with those 4 precursor-wins ? NOBODY. WHAT gave the edge to Halle Berry (SAG win) who competed against acting giants like Sissy Spacek (Golden Globe-BFCA-LAFCA-NYFCA wins), Nicole Kidman (Golden Globe win) and Judi Dench (BAFTA win) ? Yes, Berry and Washington gave brilliant performances that year, but were those the best ones in their categories ??? Do you honestly think that’s the case ? If you do, just say so. I know it works unfortunately both ways (Eddie Murphy – 2006), but the above mentioned examples prove, that even if the Academy makes questionable, arguably racist decisions (Brokeback Mountain, Eddie Murphy, Angela Bassett), on other occasions they are trying to make up for them by awarding artists based on politics and not strictly based on performances.
        I judge films and acting objectively, based on performances, not based on skin color : I genuinely think Kerry Washington should get a nomination for Mother and Child, I genuinely think NOBODY came even close to the brilliant performances of Jamie Foxx and Forest Whitaker in 2004 and 2006 respectively, AND I genuinely think that considering how many big names and great performances are ahead of her, Halle Berry’s case this year is helped by the fact that she is the only woman of color-contender in the Best Actress race. AND she knows it. I love her as an actress, she gave exceptionally great performances in Monsters Ball, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge and Things we lost in fire, but don’t fool yourself thinking she is not aware of this factor, especially this year. If she weren’t, she probably would have waited another year instead of entering THE most competitive Best Actress race of recent years in the very last minute… She obviously thought this through, so why do you think she decided to go up against already established top contenders who are also in strong bp-contenders (Bening, Portman, Kidman, Lawrence, Manville) ? Why do you think she thinks she has a shot at knocking out any of those ladies NOT TO MENTION other strong, critically acclaimed performances (Williams, Moore, Swank, Watts, Lane, Mulligan, Hathaway) ? And for the record, I don’t have a problem with that or that kind of campaigning, and I have been rooting for a second Berry-nod since Things we lost in fire, BUT I have a problem with YOU not ackowledging the existence of Awards Politics.
        I have never in my life been offended in such a hurtful way and let me tell you something, this kind of brainless, idiotic and unfortunately automatic response that “oh you are racist, because you dared to say PC exists” is EXACTLY the kind of behaviour that hurts your cause the most. I wrote my honest opinion about Halle Berry’s Oscar chances, but honesty is obviously not something you can appreciate.
        When you can’t prove your theory, it’s easy – and very cheap – to throw around big, hurtful words like “racist”, the hard part is explaining WHY you used it. So, if you CAN explain it, I’m listening. Although, I doubt you can..

        1. RLS, here is an old comment of mine about this :

          Quite frankly I have always thought that the best ones should get the awards and nominations regardless of skin color. If it’s 5 white actors/actresses in the same category, fine. If it’s 5 black actors/actresses in the same category, fine. The problem is it is unprecedented that 5 black actors/actresses (or Asian, or Hispanic or pick one) were given the chance to play baity, Awards-worthy roles in the same year in the same category. We never had 5 strong (top10, even top20) black contenders in the same acting category. NEVER. That’s the problem. You cannot suddenly expect black actors to get nominated if they don’t even get the roles that could GET them nominated. Vicious circle.
          But if we are really discussing this, I think we should dig deeper because skin color isn’t the only wrong OR racist OR discriminative factor here. The lack of acclaimed black artists is just the tip of the iceberg.

    2. Phantom, as Shakespeare once wrote, “Thou art a douche.” And thank you for not recognizing even one actress from “For Colored Girls” because obviously, with that cast, they must all suck. Oh wait, that’s not PC…

      1. I didn’t mention anyone from the cast of ‘For colored girls’ because the film doesn’t have a lead actress-contender, and the internal competition pretty much cancels everyone out in the supporting category UNLESS the studio decides to focus all their energy on Kimberly Elise, and ignore the others. But that would be a rather rude option wouldn’t it ? Although seeing your post, ‘rude’ is probably your thing.
        You don’t want to see my point, fine, you just proved once again, that when someone can’t defend or explain his/her theory, he/she just throws in some baseless, hurtful words like “racist” or “douche”, because that’s the easiest, cheapest and most ignorant answer for all your problems. Thanks for proving my theory right.

  4. If it’s true that they are setting the American version in Sweeden, I think it’s a big mistake. They should make their own.

    1. I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE David Fincher. But this smells like a HUGE bomb to me. The Swedish films are extremely fine movies by themselves, and I would not think to f**k with that.

      The budget for Dragon listed as $13 million and it already has made $103 million according to Wikipedia. It’s in every RedBox, all over NetFlix and peppered about your local Blockbuster if you’re unlucky enough to still have one open near you.

      In short, people are ALREADY watching it AND enjoying it.

      I thought the Fincher one would be an American version a’la The Departed, but to hear they’re doing it in SWEDEN???????

      This sounds like a f**king disaster movie, the bad kind where asteroids slam into the planet and Bruce Willis ain’t there to save us. It’s like Hollywood has decided to step up to the plate as the ground’s crew is sweeping up the popcorn and cars are crawling out of the parking lot.

      Expect MAJOR BO disappointment. Heads are going to roll on this.

      But then again, we are talking David F**cking Fincher.

  5. Her performance as Lisbeth Salander (along with Jesse Eisenberg’s performance as Mark Zuckerberg) has burned a hole in my memory. She perfectly captures the Lisbeth I “saw” in the novels. It is too bad that she is not considered a favorite for at least a nomination for Oscar.
    And I totally get why she does not want re-live her in Fincher’s film(s?).

  6. I think she could come from left field – everyone I know who’s seen the film(s)thinks she’s exceptional – Marion C was exceptional as Edith Piaf and Penelope Cruz is another non-English speaking actress to make it – to quote the best actor of his generation, “it’s possible.”

  7. Noomi’s name recognition in Hollywood: EVERYWHERE

    Noomi’s name recognition in the rest of the U.S.: Who?

    [sarcasm on}
    Yeah…giving her the Best Actress Oscar would be a real *smart* move.
    [sarcasm off]

    Seriously Hollywood: give the Oscar to someone who deserves it AND someone the rest of the damn country can recognize. Or do you want to continue to be irrelevant to the lives of most Americans?

  8. I saw Noomi Rapace in the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and I couldn’t take my eyes off her–she was so real I thought I was watching a documentary. To find out that she is feminine and married is a shocker as she was so convincing as the tough ambivalent lesbian Lisbeth Salander. I hope she is nominated for the Oscar.

  9. I am assuming you did not read the books before making that statement. Lisbeth is not a lesbian. She is someone who does not consider it important to define her sexuality, someone with no hangups whatsoever.

  10. Let’s make a petition now: Noomi Rapace deserves an Oscar! “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” has a huge fan base around the world. The movie is outstanding. I’m trying to give Fincher’s version a chance but (like so many of us) I just loved Rapace – and Nyqvist, too. It’s not like team Fincher is going to make a better movie – just different. I hope Noomi will be nominated, too. *Even Gwyneth Paltrow was – and won*

  11. Let’s make a petition now: Noomi Rapace deserves an Oscar! “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” has a huge fan base around the world. The movie is outstanding. I’m trying to give Fincher’s version a chance but (like so many of us) I loved Rapace – and Nyqvist, too. It’s not like team Fincher is going to make a better movie – just different. I hope Noomi will be nominated, too. *Even Gwyneth Paltrow was and won*

  12. Noomi deserves the Oscar for Best Actress. Her Lisbeth was perfection. She captivated many hearts with her performance. Many have been re-energized by Noomi’s Lisbeth, and the trilogy should become a classic worldwide due to her acting. Hollywood voters should be fair and avoid playing American favorites or let’s protect the U.S. version of the films. Film lovers worldwide connected with Lisbeth due to Noomi’s acting strength in a very difficult trilogy, and that acting deserves the Oscar for Best Actress.

  13. I think Noomi Rapace may not get nominated for her role as Lisbeth simply BECAUSE Hollywood is making it with an American actess, who by the way, does not have the same stunning looks Rapace has. In fact I think she has blue eyes which is not Lisbeth Salander. Noomi Rapace deserves an Oscar nod, yes. With David Fincher making a new and different movie of the same film will she get it? Would that take the importance off the new film? Render it irrelevant? Perhpas. And for me it is.

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