Interview with Noomi Rapace
Since she has fallen in love with film in her early teens, Noomi Rapace has devoted her life to acting. After achieving international fame as Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo trilogy, Rapace has quickly become a familiar face to the American film industry. With her appearances in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and Prometheus, the rising star has proven her talent and will soon be featured in a myriad of upcoming big screen movies. Embracing Hollywood, Noomi graced the Vanity Fair Hollywood Issue Cover alongside Anne Hathaway, Jake Gyllenhaal, James Franco, Ryan Reynolds, and Jennifer Lawrence. The ever-evolving actress shares her perspectives on her upcoming movies, the world of fashion, and the cinematic industry.
You’ve been a part of Hollywood for a few years now, have you adjusted to the red carpet premiers?
The fashion element of the red carpet has always come easily to me. The world of fashion has interested me since I was a child. It is very much a language to me. What you wear becomes a conversation with the people that see your clothes. I love that my choice between a red dress and a black dress will send out completely different signals. But with fashion aside, I get kind of lost in the public spotlight. Earlier in my life, I avoided red carpet premiers all together. I rarely attended publicity events, largely because it was hard for me to bring everything together. If there’s a character I can slip into, I feel great, but as soon as it’s me, I don’t really know what to do with myself. I’ve never been one of those “show kids” that attract a constant spotlight– I’m not an entertainer in that way. I’ve always been rather awkward when it comes to premiers and publicity events, but especially after the insane number of interviews I did for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, things have gotten easier. I’ve learned to approach the red carpet as an extension of my work rather than something separate. When I put my focus in providing honest thoughts and answers, it helps me get through the process and helps give substance to my interviews.
How was it to move from Scandinavian productions to big Hollywood productions?
The size of a production has never really affected my work because when I’m on set, all of my focus goes into finding some kind of honesty to bring my character to life. One of the biggest differences between the productions is not so much the size, but the attitudes on set. Often times, in the Swedish work environment, everyone tries to be friendly with everyone, and that can get hard. On a Swedish set, not everybody will understand that if I’m about to play a dark scene, I’ll come to set in that kind of mode. In an international workplace, it’s usually more acceptable and better understood if you’re not super happy and friendly all the time, and I think that serves me better as an actor.
Prometheus was very physically demanding, and now you’re filming for the sequel. Does it worry you that you might be cast into more action roles and less psychologically demanding ones?
I’m not really worried at all. I definitely have a good variety of roles under my belt; this year alone, I play a very emotional, modern day role in The Drop that’s quite far from anything I’ve done before, and in Child 44 I’m a school teacher in 1953 Russia. In a sense, however, I am tied to characters that fight. Whether they are struggling with their own demon or fighting the world, I love the friction that comes with their urge to change something or move forward.
What films are you working on now?
In one of my upcoming films, titled What Happened to Monday, I’ll be playing seven septuplet sisters. I’m also working with Legendary and Universal on a movie based off of the book Brilliance by Marcus Sakey. I’ve been reading his book and it’s amazing– I’m currently waiting for him to finish the trilogy!
What actor or actress would you consider your childhood idol?
I didn’t have a TV until I was 13 or 14 years old, so I was introduced to the cinematic world fairly late. But when I first discovered film, I would always come home from the video store with a giant handful of DVRs. Films were my first love in many ways. I mostly grew up with American movies; Sigourney Weaver was my idol, and I loved Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, Robert De Niro, Gary Oldman, Ridley Scott, and Martin Scorsese. Since then, the list has grown much longer, but even now, all of my idols are constantly moving forward, always searching and discovering and taking risks. I guess I’ve always found that very inspiring.
So in Child 44, you get to work with Tom Hardy again, what is that like, especially since scenes can get dark and heavy?
Tom is incredible, and it’s a blessing to be working with him. I’ve worked with him twice so far, and our relationship has very much become a collaboration where we are constantly rehearsing, discussing, and discovering together. I think our relationship is very beautiful because I know we will always support each other. Much like myself, Tom is constantly changing, and that’s kind of what I’m looking for. To find someone whom you feel confident playing any role with, whether it is in a western, a sci-fi, or a heavy drama, is very difficult, and I’m very lucky to have found someone like Tom. He’s always growing and changing, and it’s amazing to have a relationship that allows you to be brave enough to open new doors and take bigger risks.
What was it like working with the late James Gandolfini?
I didn’t really work with him extensively. Because our story arches very much represented two different sides of Tom Hardy’s character, I only had one scene with James. When I did meet him on set, he was a very adorable and lovely man. He was extremely hardworking and passionate, and it was quite shocking and terribly sad when he passed away.
What sort of roles are you looking forward to playing? Are there any directors you would want to work with?
I have a lot of projects that I would love to be working on. A lot of these are dream roles, but I would love to work with Darren Aronofsky, Scott Cooper, and one of my heroes, Quentin Tarantino. I could go on forever nowadays– there are so many new and talented directors out there and so many good upcoming films, it’s almost like a Christmas for me!
You’ve been into lifting and martial arts, what is your current routine like?
I’ve been doing martial arts for a while now, and I’ve recently started Pilates and jumping rope. Along with all this I also take lots of long walks. I build muscle really easily, so I have to be mindful of my routines and how much I build. As for my diet, I’m currently fasting. I like to fast in between my projects as a detox, to cleanse myself. I feel like it allows me to start a job from a blank page with a clean and open mind.
How would you define your style?
I like simplicity and edginess, and I don’t follow trends. I love Riccardo Tisci, who designs Givenchy, and Alexander Wang, and I much prefer to convey a sense of strength through my style. I prefer something braver and more controversial than the safer, “traditional” look. Everyone needs to find their own fashion voice rather than follow trends and recreate outfits from the runway as a fashion slave. Whether you’re taking from big brand names or small, unheard of designers, I think it’s important to mix it up and explore. Right now I really love to mix old glamour and punk. I have clothes that are cheap as shit and clothes that are extremely expensive. You can mix vintage with classic with edgy- – there are no rules, and I think that’s the beauty of fashion. If you’re trying to look sexy and cool and impressive then wear what you love, and it will show.