ON MAPPING THE PSYCHOLOGICAL LANDSCAPE OF HER 'PASSION' CHARACTER
Contributor Magazine's Antonia Nessen has a nice interview with Noomi Rapace, conducted as she was just beginning to film Brian De Palma's Passion. While nothing too much more about Passion is revealed than has been published before, she does go a little deeper into some of the ways in which she invests herself into her characters, Passion included. The article also provides the last name of Rapace's character, and also features some great fashion photographs of the actress, such as the shot to the left. Here is an excerpt which delves into Rapace's research and roles:
The Norwegian thriller Babycall recently premiered in Europe, and was filmed in Oslo two years ago. Without revealing too much of what happens, it’s easy to understand that playing the leading role of the single mother Anna was mentally taxing. I ask Noomi if there’s such a thing as getting too much into character:
”No, but there have been times when I haven’t realised that the role has taken over. My character in Babycall is very fragile and traumatised after a destructive relationship. During my research I met a woman whose close relative had been raped and murdered. She felt physical pain for years afterwards and had a hard time controlling her body. When she was driving for example, her hands would suddenly just lock up. Our bodies seem to handle pain, grief and trauma in ways that can be quite unpredictable.”
In the movie a babycall monitor sets off the nerve-wrenching plot. Anna buys it to make sure nothing her 8-year-old son stays safe at night, only to find out that the babycall picks up another child crying somewhere in the apartment building.
“When we had been filming for maybe three weeks my hips started hurting. I felt like an old Labrador that couldn’t walk. I could hardly get out of bed. The doctors and chiropractors couldn’t say what it was. It didn’t get better until the day after we finished shooting. Then the pain disappeared, it was just gone. When I look back at it, it seems like my subconscious picked up on the woman’s story and then my body somehow induced the state psychosomatically. And it was beyond my control.”
Preparing for both Babycall and now Passion, Noomi has regular conversations with Dr Clara Gumpert, associate professor and Director of the Centre for Psychiatric Research in Stockholm.
“Before Babycall I tried to learn to understand what it’s like to live in a world where you know that you can slip into a psychosis that you will experience as reality. I could be sitting here being psychotic and seeing devils and demons but pretending everything is normal and be able to control them. But as soon as we log off Skype I will say to them ‘Why can’t you leave me alone when I’m sitting here talking to Antonia’.”
In Brian De Palma’s drama thriller Passion, Noomi plays the lead character Isabella James, a young ambitious businesswoman who gets into a close relationship - with several intriguing turns - with her boss and mentor, played by Rachel McAdams. In preparation for the film, Noomi has practiced Bikram yoga pretty much every day, but most of all she tries to map James’ psyche, her psychological landscape:
“Now that I’m immersing myself in a new part, I try to understand each scene based on the character’s motivations and goals. How does her mind work? I have to make sure that the actions of my characters are psychologically convincing. If I don’t it becomes almost physically impossible to proceed.”