Noomi Rapace, a Swedish actress achieved fame with her portrayal of Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish film adaptations of the Millennium series: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest. In 2011, she was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Actress for her performance in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
She is also known for playing Anna in Daisy Diamond, Leena in Beyond, Anna in The Monitor, Madame Simza Heron in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, the lead role of Dr. Elizabeth Shaw in the Ridley Scott science-fiction film Prometheus, Beatrice in Dead Man Down , Nadia in The Drop, Raisa Demidova in Child 44 and the 7 lead roles in What Happened to Monday.
She is now playing role of Leilah in Bright. The actress whose main draw for the film was working with director David Ayer performed most of stunts by herself.
On her recent trip to India, the actress spoke…..
You play Leilah, who’s the female villain in the movie.What drew you to her character?
It was first of all actually David Ayer, I’ve been wanting to work with him since a long time. My character kind of changed a couple of times so the first draft was slightly different from what we did in the end so I think just the idea of working with David and knowing that he would do something great with the character was very strong. I also knew that he wanted to do a villain who had passion, who was not a cold b*tch. Someone that was fighting for something and he kept saying to me during the shoot, ‘Remember her pain, she’s suffering.’ So we were building a back-story to her.
Having grown up hearing stories about elves, how was it playing one?
I grew up partly in Iceland and we believe in elves. My grandmother was always telling me when I was growing up, ‘We cannot cross that hill, it’s the elf hill.’ So everyone kind of thought elves existed. I’ve always had a strong relationship to elves, It’s a very interesting species, like a creature that’s highly intelligent, super wake, very powerful but can be very dangerous as well. It’s a striking creature to play.
There are many difficult fight scenes in Bright, how hard was it training for that?
We had almost two months of fight training, knife training, martial art training but I love all that. I want to do as much as they allow me to do, I do most of my own stunts. When you’re rehearsing for the fights you have a tracksuit and sneakers and then on the day you put on high heels, and a suit and contact lenses that make everything blurry, so I was struggling a bit. Also, to fight like an elf, to fight with a flow and if she has a lot of rage and she’s aggressive, she’s very specific so I really had to learn to find a complete flow and a stillness in it.
You have also played strong characters in the past. Do you relate to such characters?
I think I’m drawn to characters that have a lot of layers, so you can really dig in. For me, as an actress, it’s more to work with, it’s more to explore. I like when I read a script and don’t quite know a character. It’s like a puzzle I need to put together. I’m more drawn to stories and characters that are more complex, a bit deeper and something cracked in them, not too perfect.
What was it like working with David Ayer?
Amazing. He knows exactly what he wants, he’s very specific. He’s a very strong leader and I think also on this movie, he got to do exactly what he wanted. I think Netflix kind of backed him completely — he had creative freedom. There was one day I came in and we were shooting this scene at a strip club. He was looking at this big podium and said, ‘I think Leilah should come running on this one, jumping and flying through a glass wall and then you start a fight.’ And the stunt team was like, we are shooting this in two days. Normally you rehearse stuff like that but they made it happen.
And working with Will Smith?
Will is such a pro. He is extremely kind and funny. He is a big man but has good control over his body so he managed to protect me a couple of times. I was supposed to land on him but I didn’t land on the spot I was supposed to, but he managed to position himself so I landed on him and not on the floor. Even though we were fighting each other, he protected me.
Did you have any apprehensions having a Netflix release vs a traditional studio?
We live in a new time now, it’s a big change for my industry and I think with all these streaming sites there’s a lot of new studios. Netflix is a studio but just a kind of different one. For me as an actress, while I’m making a movie I don’t think about it so much. It’s more about what’s happening on sets. It’s something very powerful that people will watch it at the same time around the world.
Since you are in India, is there anything you want to do here?
It’s a quick in and out but I’d like to come back. I saw an amazing movie Dangal. I love movies about girl power. It’s so refreshing and was so powerful, so emotional and the actors are amazing. I’d like to get to know the Indian film industry more.
Here is the Bright movie trailer…….must watch :