Profile: Noomi Rapace

Profile: Noomi Rapace

Rapace and Matthias Schoenaerts in The Drop

Swedish actress talks about working with James Gandolfini for her latest film The Drop

Name: Noomi Rapace

Background: Born in Sweden, Rapace shot to international fame with her portrayal of Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011). She made her English language debut in Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes sequel and subsequently played the lead in Ridley Scott's Prometheus.

What's next? Her latest film is Brooklyn-based crime drama The Drop, directed by Michaël R. Roskam and based on a short story by Dennis Lehane. She plays Nadia, an ex-junkie who bonds with bar manager Bob (Tom Hardy) over an injured pit bull.

On working with the pit bull: He scratched me once and I had two big red marks, and they swelled up a little bit. I guess he had a lot of poop under his nails or something! It was funny though. Sometimes you'd be in the middle of a scene and then all of a sudden you'd hear [makes snoring noise].

On shooting on location in Brooklyn: I love location shooting. It helps you to be around real people, to take in their environment. I was spending time at this rescue centre for dogs in Queens, walking the dogs, cleaning the cages, talking to the people working there, just getting into the whole vibe. I love that part: you feel like a detective, a secret agent collecting information and listening to people. And I came to the rescue centre dressed as Nadia, in unattractive clothes and they were like, 'Is she the actress? I thought this was a Hollywood film?'.

On co-star James Gandolfini: As a person, he was shy and he was funny, but he was so nice to everybody in the crew. That's something I was thinking about. He's not a diva, so not a star, just sitting talking to the Teamsters, making jokes. You see this big strong man and he's funny and humble and like everybody else, and I was like, ‘Wow, he's been in this industry so long and he's still so grounded and so real, just a person’. A lot of people get carried away with fame, but to see him with all the great work he has behind him being so real and such a good bloke – if he wasn't someone I already knew as an actor, I would be like, ‘Oh, I like this dude’, because he had such a good aura around him. I got asked by a journalist today, 'Was it sad to see James in the film?' and I was like, 'No!'. I didn't think of him not being around, I was just so filled with the work he did and his beautiful portrait of this broken man Cousin Marv. And that's the beauty of films, that they stay forever.

On upcoming project What Happened To Monday? with Tommy Wirkola: It's going to be the hardest thing I've done – I'm going to play seven characters, seven sisters. Nobody has done it, so who knows? It might be the worst mistake ever or it might be pretty cool. We'll see.

The Drop

  • 4 stars
  • 2014
  • US
  • 1h 45min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Michaël R Roskam
  • Cast: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini
  • UK release: 14 November 2014

Bob (Hardy) is the loyal bartender of Cousin Marv's, a Brooklyn dive ostensibly run by Marv himself (Gandolfini), but really a money drop for Chechen gangsters. Adapted by Lehane from his own story, it starts as a Runyonesque slow-burner but slowly tightens into a tough thriller with excellent work from Hardy and…