Goran Stolevski’s debut feature You Won’t Be Alone is Australia’s official submission for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film. Produced by Causeway Films’ Kristina Ceyton and Samantha Jennings, the supernatural horror, set in 19th century Macedonia, stars Noomi Rapace, Anamaria Marinca, Alice Englert, Carloto Cotta, Félix Maritaud and Sara Klimoska. It first premiered at Sundance in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition, going on to receive rave reviews, with critics drawing comparisons between Stolevski and filmmakers such as Terrence Malick and Jonathan Glazer. The film also screened in competition at Sydney Film Festival, won best film at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival and Best Film of the Official Fantástic Competition Selection at Sitges. Variety named Stolevski one of its 10 directors to watch of 2022.
To have been selected for submission to one of the highest accolades there is in our industry and be representing Australia is just wonderful/slightly surreal. It’s of course immensely competitive with another 91 very brilliant films from around the world up for nomination, but it’s great to be in the running and, even at this early stage, to be shining a light on the calibre of our talent and how diverse Australia’s screen stories are. (Kristina Ceyton, Inside Film)
This is the second consecutive time that a film starring Noomi Rapace is submitted for the Best International Film for an Academy Award after Iceland’s submission of “Lamb” last year.
The 2022 Nordic Council Film Prize has been awarded to Iceland’s “Lamb”, directed Valdimar Jóhannsson, who co-wrote with Sjón; and produced by Hrönn Kristinsdóttir and Sara Nassim. The award was presented on Tuesday evening (November 2) during the Nordic Council’s autumn session in Helsinki. The lucrative Nordic Council Film Prize comes with a cash award of $39,800 (DKK 300,000), which is shared between the director, writers, and producers in honour of the collaborative nature of filmmaking. Lamb, which premiered in Cannes Un Certain Regard in 2021 and won the ‘prize of originality’, is a supernatural drama about an Icelandic couple (played by Noomi Rapace and Hilmir Snaer Gudnason) who find a mysterious newborn on their farm. The other nominees this year – one each from the Nordic countries – were Godland by Hlynur Pálmason submitted by Denmark, The Blind Man Who Did Not Want To See Titanic by Teemu Nikki for Finland, The Worst Person In The World by Joachim Trier from Norway and Clara Sola by Nathalie Alvarez Mesen from Sweden.
WWD has posted a nice article and interview with Noomi: If there’s a Palme d’Or awarded for having fun, it should go to Noomi Rapace. Because she is clearly having the best time at this Cannes festival, taking in every dinner and late-night party, not to mention seeing 21 films in 12 days. The actress is making the most of her experience as a member of the main competition jury. In her hotel suite dressed in a sculptured Celine gown and diamonds from Chopard, Rapace is sprawled across her bed surrounded by racks of dresses, shoes and jewelry. Every night she’s been going to sleep “as excited as a kid.” Her energy is infectious. “I just feel so amazed, surprised and inspired by all the people around me and all the films,” she tells WWD, careful not to give away any indication of which ones are her favorites so far. That info is kept carefully under wraps until the final selection is revealed Saturday. The complete interview can be read here.
We talk about what is good and what is bad, I find that doesn’t really matter, it needs to do something to you. What is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’? I love films that stay with me and burn some mark in me,” she says about debating with her fellow panelists. It’s very much about instinct, a bit like falling in love and feeling something. I don’t want to be too analytical and too political and to overthink stuff. If I’m brutally honest, I always know. Then I can dance around and be more diplomatic and I really try to stay open as well for what the other jury members might add or what perspectives they might have on things. I’m also learning from that. It kind of feels like going to school.
Another fantastic interview with Noomi’s in yesterday’s i Newspaper: For a few years when she was growing up in Iceland, Noomi Rapace lived on a farm, but she was too young to get involved with any of the day-to-day labour. So when, on her first day on the set of her new film, Lamb, she had to drive a tractor and deliver a lamb, it was something of a baptism of fire. “I knew I could not f**k up,” she tells me over coffee in a London hotel. “But I didn’t have a lot of adrenaline. There was a strange calmness.” Still, her foray into midwifery left its mark. “The weirdest thing was the very specific smell. It just wouldn’t wash off. It stayed for a week or something.” The Icelandic film, directed by first-timer Valdimar Jóhannsson, was the break-out hit at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Rapace, 41, plays a woman caught between two brothers, who loosely resemble Cain and Abel: she’s married to one and had previously been involved with the other. It is not the only biblical element to the tale; her character is called Maria, after all. When the childless couple discover a newborn in their barn, they are so excited that they fail to notice there is something odd about it – namely that it is half-lamb, half-human. The complete interview can be read over at i News – here’s Noomi’s quote on the recently wrapped “Django”, which will span over ten episodes:
I wanted to take a break. I had a Skype call with the director and writers who wanted to create a role. Then Nicholas Pinnock texted me for a coffee and I took him to work out with me in a climbing class. As we were leaving, he tells another friend: ‘I’m off to Romania tomorrow and Noomi’s going to play my sister’. And I thought: ‘I haven’t said yes yet’. The character is the most beautiful, brutal villain. I dream about her. I told the writers this, and some of my dreams have become part of the script. I have accepted imperfections and allowed myself to feel sadness, vulnerability and weakness. That’s not weakness. I was raised in a way never to cry, never show weakness. So I became very tough. I don’t want to live like that. I don’t want to accept that way of living, and carrying myself, to bleed into my son’s life. I want him to be a human that has access to all emotions, where everything is allowed.
Noomi is featured in the recent international issue of The wrap Magazine, with an interview that can be read on their website as well: Noomi Rapace was sitting waiting for “the knock” on her trailer door, a sign that a mother sheep was ready to deliver a baby. She had just traveled hours to a small Icelandic village to film a movie about a hybrid lamb-human baby for six months and no money. And all her training didn’t prepare her for having to birth this little miracle on her first day of filming. “I was running down to the barn, and they were like, ‘The lamb is coming!’ OK, I’m just sticking my hands in here! I guess this is what we’re doing,” Rapace said. “It was the birth of the movie that kicked off everything, but from that point there was no return. I was just in it.” The emotional connection she formed in that moment carried through to her performance in Valdimar Jóhannsson’s “Lamb,” Iceland’s Oscar entry and a movie about coping with loss and how we go to extreme lengths to maintain a sense of normalcy. Rapace had been itching to return to art-house cinema and felt the “fragile” and “personal” story at its center was something she’d been waiting for “my entire life.” “I always need to bring it back to myself and find situations or periods in my life like an emotional mirror so I can dig into myself,” Rapace said. “I did go to places where it was really painful to be, of loss and heartbreak. How do you find your way back into life when you’re broke?” The complete interview can be read here.
Another great article and interview can be found in today’s The Guardian: Noomi Rapace – the original Lisbeth Salander, AKA The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – is sitting in the hotel bar with her sunglasses on top of her head. They disappear at some point during our conversation, though I don’t see them go. I do notice, however, when her black jacket, which has been draped around her shoulders, falls to the floor while she is flapping her arms pretending to be an eagle. This happens shortly after she has told me how she once wore a strap-on dildo in public. She really is a lot of fun and quite naughty. We were due to meet in a windowless room upstairs but she wanted a window. “They’d put us in a little prison cell,” she huffs, now looking out on to the back streets of London’s Mayfair. “I was like, ‘I can’t be stuck in there!’ It’s all about flows and energies.” The double espresso she asked for when she first got here has yet to arrive, so she orders another from a passing staff member, who brings it in a flash. Rapace, who is 41, does a quick inventory: “Window. Coffee. Ryan. Perfect.” Then her original order arrives. She looks up at her server in astonishment. “Is this ours? I love your lipstick, by the way, it’s really pretty.” She turns to me. “Do you want this? Let’s have it.” The next time I look down, both cups are empty. This is all worlds away from the forceful minimalism she brings to the unsettling new indie thriller Lamb. She plays Maria, who lives with her husband on a farm in the Icelandic countryside. It’s just the two of them, their sensible knitwear, their animals, and the unspoken pain of the past. “It’s like a family drama,” she says. “But with one obstacle that is a bit strange.” That’s putting it mildly. When a sheep on the farm gives birth to a half-human, half-lamb hybrid, the couple name her Ada, rock her like a baby, and adopt her as their own. Meanwhile, Ada’s birth mother stands outside, bleating sinisterly, refusing to budge. The complete interview can be read over at The Guardian.
“Lamb” will be released in the United Kingdom on December 10, and a first string of promotional interviews with Noomi are being released as we speak. Here’s a great interview with NME: Noomi Rapace is never one to conform to Hollywood’s notion of what a leading woman should look like. From her scorching international breakthrough in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the first of a violent, vengeful trilogy, to headlining Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel Prometheus, and now with her new horror Lamb, the 41-year-old Swedish actor has challenged femininity by opting for robust, often radical roles, over mainstream ideals. “I’ve always seen myself as a human rather than a woman,” she tells NME via video-call from a whitewashed, empty-looking studio in central London. “I’ve always felt alienated when they want to put me in a box, or when people expect me to behave a certain way just because my gender is female.” In Lamb, a surreal Icelandic folk tale which Rapace describes as “a beautiful, strange adventure”, she plays María, a grieving mother who finds new joy in life when Ada, a strange but innocent sheep-human hybrid, is born on the farm that she runs with her husband. For the actor, taking the role was instinctual, and not just because she herself had grown up on a farm in her native Sweden. “I felt like I didn’t have a choice, like my body and my mind and my heart had been waiting for this,” she says. “Maria found me, and I got lost in her.” The complete interview can be read over at NME.
Another fantastic interview with Valdimar Johannsson and Noomi Rapace on the making of “Lamb”, courtesy Screen Daily. Waiting for a sheep to give birth straight into the hands of lead actress Noomi Rapace was just one of the challenges of making Lamb, Icelandic filmmaker Valdimar Johannsson’s debut feature, which created a stir in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard and has become the highest-grossing Icelandic film released in US cinemas (thanks to A24). The story follows an Icelandic couple (Rapace and Hilmir Snaer Gudnason) living on a remote farm who adopt a mysterious newborn, not quite sheep, not quite human, naming it Ada. Known for her booming international career with roles in the Swedish adaptation of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (and its two sequels), The Drop, Child 44 and Amazon series Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Rapace was born in Sweden but grew up in Iceland. Lamb gave her a chance to return to those roots. Co-scripted by Johannsson with Icelandic screenwriter and novelist Sjon, Lamb is an Iceland-Sweden-Poland co-production, produced by Hronn Kristinsdottir and Sara Nassim at Go To Sheep alongside Piodor Gustafsson and Erik Rydell at Black Spark Prod, and Klaudia Smieja-Rostworowska and Jan Naszewski at Madants. Naszewski’s New Europe Film Sales handles international sales. The full interview can be read here.
I grew up on a farm, [with] life and death present all the time. The circle of life is right there in front of you… and the Icelandic folklore is kind of baked into everything. My grandmother would say, “We can’t ride across this hill because we don’t want to upset the elves.” It was very much a part of life and not seen as something strange.
Happy New Year everybody! I completely missed that Noomi has attended the Astrid Andersen runway at London Fashion Week’s Men last week. Many thanks to Marinka for bringing it to my attention. Also, there’s a new interview with Noomi in the Indian edition of The Telegraph and a review page on “Bright” in the February issue of Empire Magazine.
Article and pictures courtesy Vogue and Astrid Andersen: When an interview ends with you strapped into Noomi Rapace’s new top-of-the-line Audi as she bounces behind the wheel to top-volume Cardi B, then accelerates up Ladbroke Grove faster than anything out of North Korea, well, it’s been an awesome assignment. And when Vogue was invited to lunch with the Swedish-born actress (the original Lisbeth Salander!) and the Danish-born designer Astrid Andersen, that’s exactly how things ended up. But before we hit the road—Andersen and Rapace up front, singing and whooping as we went full throttle, me in the back, trying not to toss my salad—there was much to discuss. Royal College of Art–trained Andersen founded her menswear label in 2010, and last year started showing womenswear, too. She and Rapace didn’t meet all that long ago, but have since become firm friends. So for Spring 2018, Rapace volunteered to model Andersen’s collection (the women’s, with a sprinkling of men’s) in a shoot masterminded at the actress’s London house. That seemed like a perfect reason to meet, eat, and listen in on these two besties discussing friendship, clothes, first boyfriends, and plenty more besides. What follows is an edited record of a conversation in which, just like that hair-raising drive afterward, Vogue was very much in the back seat.
If you do something that you’re forced into, or you’re eye candy for someone, or you dress for someone else and you don’t feel comfortable, well, you don’t feel empowered and you don’t feel free. If you can’t dance in it, you can’t move in it, you can’t feel your energy and your charisma flowing, that is wrong. But if you wear something that you can move in and that makes you grow, you can come into any room and be like: Boom, here I am! You know, I never thought I would be comfortable in some places. I come from a farm and I come from no money. I didn’t even speak English seven and a half years ago. So I have to go on my intuition all the time. And I think that Astrid is very much the same; you have to go on your gut feeling.