Is Noomi Rapace the new Ripley? True to form, Ridley Scott gives us yet another strong female lead, Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, for us to delve into with his hugely anticipated ‘Prometheus’ opening in theatres this weekend.
For someone who couldn’t speak a word of English just over 3 years ago, the Swedish born Noomi Rapace (32) has come a long way in a short time. She has woven herself effortlessly into North American filmgoers’ hearts as Ridley Scott’s latest strong female character creation, Dr. Elizabeth Shaw.
What more could a little girl dream of, her idol growing up was Ripley (Sigourney Weaver’s unyielding force to be reckoned with in Ridley Scott’s original Alien flick). In a recent Moviefone interview, Rapace describes her introduction to Ripley when she was a girl:
When asked if she had been ”a fan of the original movies”, Rapace replied:
Absolutely! I saw “Alien” when I was thirteen and I was completely blown away by Sigourney’s character, Ripley. I remember that I had never seen anything like it. At that time, I was desperately looking for some kind of role model or people to look up to, and for me, what she did there was so stunning — she was so fearless and strong and sexy at the same time but not posing, not trying to be sexy. She was so modern and such a rebel. I was obsessed.
The rest of the Moviefone interview with Noomi Rapace can be found here
The characters themselves are different of course, but the general reference to making the comparison at all stems from the fact that these are two strong female leads who carry their respective films. Not that they are carbon copies of one another in any shape or form.
Rapace’s Shaw character would crumple like a piece of paper if it came down to hand to hand combat with Weaver’s Ripley, but that isn’t the point. Like Rapace said when describing herself at 13, she needed a role model, and don’t we all? Seeing Ripley as a strong no nonsense female carrying these films was revolutionary at the time, though today it’s not so cutting edge, but it is still perceived as “not the norm”.
Ridley Scott is the master of giving us strong film heroines to captivate us. That’s what he did with Ripley, and that is most definitely what he has done with Dr. Elizabeth Shaw.
When asked point blank if the two characters were similar, Ridley Scott says to Total Film:
“Are there parallels to be drawn?” asked Ridley Scott when we quizzed him. “No, the dynamics are entirely different.”
Noomi Rapace (pronounced Rah-Pass) is most famous of course for her previous stint as Sweden’s version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movies. She declined remaking them in the North American David Fincher versions simply because she had already “done that”.
Born in Sweden and moving to Iceland at the age of 5 (and later back to Sweden), Rapace muses in an interview with Charlie Rose recently that Prometheus filmed an hour from where her family still lives in Iceland. A surreal homecoming that must have been, arriving back as the star of one of the most anticipated films in recent years!
Rapace North American Debut:
Prometheus is not the Swedish beauty’s debut into North American films, however, as Rapace appeared as the fiesty gypsy Madam Simza Heron (a.k.a. Sim) in Sherlock Holmes Game of Shadows. Noomi’s father’s mother was a gypsy so the role interested her on many levels.
Rapace on Learning English:
Rapace decided she had better learn the English language and “find a way to make this language her own” after an international press conference for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) where she “felt like a monkey at the zoo” not knowing the language. She watched everything in English with no subtitles BBC, CNN and even David Letterman to learn the language which she delightedly thanked Letterman for his “Schooling” in a recent interview while promoting Prometheus on his show.
Rapace Personal Life:
Rapace is the actress’s married name (she is divorced), as she has a son Lev with Swedish actor Ola Rapace who appears next in another hugely anticipated film Skyfall. It was his wardrobe she reportedly dipped into while filming the “Dragon” films for some of Lisbeth Salander’s outfits.
Rapace as Dr. Elizabeth Shaw:
Below is a recent interview with Noomi Rapace on her character Dr. Elizabeth Shaw. Shaw may not be anything like Ripley, at 5ft 4 Rapace is not your typical action hero, but the two may be fighting very similar battles on different fields.
What did you think of Prometheus? Leave a comment below, we would love to hear!
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