prometheus origin stories

Noomi Rapace’s Odd Childhood Prepared Her for Unconventional Roles

Swedish actress Noomi Rapace poses during a photocall for the Premiere of
Photo: THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images

There’s a big profile of Prometheus star, Swedish actress Noomi Rapace, in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, and author Karen Olsson has something of a theory about why Rapace is drawn to playing outcasts, like her signature role as Lisbeth Salander in the original version of the Millennium trilogy: her strange upbringing. When Rapace was 5, she moved with her mother, stepfather, and half-sister to a remote village in Iceland called Solheimar that had been founded as a sort of home for the disabled.

“When the family moved to Solheimar, Rapace said, it was populated mostly by teenagers and adults with Down syndrome, and as a very young girl from another country, she found them menacing,” Olsson explains. According to Rapace:

I was afraid of them … To me they were like big trolls. I was not allowed to be angry with them, but they were quite mean sometimes, violent and sexual.

Eventually the family moved back to Sweden, but not before Rapace went through a very Salander-esque punk phase, during which she bleached her hair and may or may not have cut herself to become blood brothers and blood sisters with her punk pals. Somehow we doubt Rooney Mara had such a phase growing up on the mean streets of Westchester County.

Noomi Rapace: Odd Childhood Led to Odd Roles