Noomi Rapace: I’m glad Rooney Mara is a relative unknown

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Noomi Rapace had never heard of Rooney Mara, the young actress who was recently tapped to play Lisbeth Salander in the English-language version of of ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,’ before she was cast in the part.

But Rapace, who, of course, originated the Salander role in the three Swedish films adapted from author Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series, says she now endorses the choice.


“I don’t know her. I haven’t seen her,” said the 30-year-old, who was in Hollywood to promote the Friday U.S. release of the final film in the trilogy, “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.” But, she added, ‘I think that David Fincher is a great filmmaker, and he probably made a good choice.... I don’t think that people should ever know so much about an actor that they go into the theater and can’t see the character.’

Since she was cast in the Salander role several months ago, Mara has faced criticism (perhaps inevitable, given the affection for Rapace) about whether she could walk in the actress’ footsteps. Mara has sought to answer those critics by throwing herself into the role. It’s been reported that Mara, who has been in production on the remake in Sweden since September, recently pierced her nipples and dyed her hair to get into character.

Rapace herself famously went to similar lengths to play Salander, cutting off her hair, buffing up and getting seven body piercings. ‘I’m overwhelmed by how people have embraced my performance in the films,’ Rapace said. ‘I didn’t expect that at all.’

Rapace, on a brief respite from production of Guy Ritchie’s “Sherlock Holmes” sequel in London, said, despite the acclaim it brought her, she was not eager to reprise the Salander role. ‘I was done with it, and I was very clear that I didn’t want to do it again. And when people knew that it was David Fincher, everybody came back to me and said, ‘Have you changed your mind?’ No. Why should I?”

The actress says she has not been asked by the filmmaker or Mara for advice on how to approach Salander. ‘I don’t think I could help her, because she has to find her own [version]. I don’t know more about this book than she does, because she’s probably read the books, and she has to find her own truth and give something from her to it. She will probably do something completely different.’

— Amy Kaufman



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