Swedish star Noomi Rapace gained global acclaim with her riveting and unnerving portrayal of Lisbeth Salander in the original film adaptations of Stieg Larsson’s best-selling Millennium Trilogy, beginning with her 2009 breakout performance in Niels Arden Oplev’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” For her performance in the film, Rapace won several international honors, including a Best Actress nomination at the BAFTA Awards.
Now, she plays her first English-speaking role in Warner Bros.' actio-adventure Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows as mysterious Gypsy named Sim, who becomes allied with Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) in his quest to stop criminal mastermind Prof. James Moriarty (Jared Harris).
Sim could provide the link to the final piece of the puzzle, completing the picture of Moriarty’s sinister plot. The cryptic letter that drew Holmes to Sim was from her brother, Rene. Years earlier, Sim and Rene had joined a group of anarchists called the Lapin Vert. When the group became too extreme, Sim and her brother abandoned the cause, but for reasons unknown Rene made his way back and wound up as a pawn in Moriarty’s deadly game. Sim agrees to help Holmes and Watson if they will save her brother.
Director Guy Ritchie says, “We were all big fans of Noomi's, and when we met with her, she was already full of ideas for the character. I loved working with her because she’s ballsy and smart and totally committed—all qualities we were looking for in Sim.”
Rapace says that the nomadic lifestyle of a Gypsy and the attitudes of the time have combined to make Sim tough. “She’s forever on the move and wherever she goes, she’s not treated very well, so she’s had to learn to defend herself. Her people are used to surviving under extreme circumstances and living on the edge, usually in places where they’re not welcome. Sim has seen the darker side of humanity and, in that way, she has something in common with Holmes.”
The actress might also have something in common with her character. “My father was a Flamenco singer from Spain, and I was told he had Gypsy blood in him,” she offers. “I’m not sure if it’s really true or not, but I’ve always had an interest in Gypsy culture and playing Sim gave me a fantastic opportunity to delve into that—the way they live and love and their strong sense of family and loyalty. Guy gave me a lot of freedom to develop her character, which I appreciated.” “Noomi was incredible…not only a wonderful actress but a lovely person,” producer Joel Silver says. “She’s in most of the movie alongside Robert and Jude Law and really had to hold her own with them, and she was amazing.”
The fight scenes in the film were not confined to the men, which is something Noomi Rapace welcomed. “Sim is a street fighter,” the actress asserts. “She can punch and kick and she’s very good with knives, but when she’s thrown into a situation, she’ll grab whatever is close at hand. She’s scrappy. I like that,” she smiles.
Upcoming, Rapace will next be seen starring in Ridley Scott’s highly anticipated sci-fi thriller “Prometheus,” with Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba and Guy Pearce.
Opening across the Philippines in Jan. 08, “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.