Hello and welcome to the unofficial Brian De Palma website.
Here is the latest news:

De Palma a la Mod

E-mail
Geoffsongs@aol.com

De Palma Discussion
Forum

-------------

Pacino wows
in Venice

Pacino delivers a
masterclass as
a lion in winter

The Humbling
and Manglehorn
reviews

-------------

Exclusive Passion
Interviews:

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario

------------

AV Club Review
of Dumas book

Recent Headlines
a la Mod:

-Picture emerging
for Happy Valley

-De Palma's new
project with
Said Ben Said

-De Palma to team
with Pacino & Pressman
for Paterno film
Happy Valley

« June 2012 »
S M T W T F S
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Interviews...

De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


Enthusiasms...

De Palma Community

The Virtuoso
of the 7th Art

The De Palma Touch

The Swan Archives

Carrie...A Fan's Site

Phantompalooza

Paul Schrader

Alfred Hitchcock
The Master Of Suspense

Alfred Hitchcock Films

Snake Eyes
a la Mod

Mission To Mars
a la Mod

Sergio Leone
and the Infield
Fly Rule

Movie Mags

Directorama

The Filmmaker Who
Came In From The Cold

Jim Emerson on
Greetings & Hi, Mom!

Scarface: Make Way
For The Bad Guy

The Big Dive
(Blow Out)

Carrie: The Movie

Deborah Shelton
Official Web Site

The Phantom Project

Welcome to the
Offices of Death Records

The Carlito's Way
Fan Page

The House Next Door

Kubrick on the
Guillotine

FilmLand Empire

Astigmia Cinema

LOLA

Cultural Weekly

A Lonely Place

The Film Doctor

italkyoubored

Icebox Movies

Medfly Quarantine

Not Just Movies

Hope Lies at
24 Frames Per Second

Motion Pictures Comics

Diary of a
Country Cinephile

So Why This Movie?

Obsessive Movie Nerd

Nothing Is Written

Ferdy on Films

Cashiers De Cinema

This Recording

Mike's Movie Guide

Every '70s Movie

Dangerous Minds

EatSleepLiveFilm

No Time For
Love, Dr. Jones!

The former
De Palma a la Mod
site

Entries by Topic
A note about topics: Some blog posts have more than one topic, in which case only one main topic can be chosen to represent that post. This means that some topics may have been discussed in posts labeled otherwise. For instance, a post that discusses both The Boston Stranglers and The Demolished Man may only be labeled one or the other. Please keep this in mind as you navigate this list.
All topics
Ambrose Chapel
BAMcinématek
Bart De Palma
Becoming Visionary
Bill Pankow
Black Dahlia
Blow Out
Blue Afternoon
Body Double
Bonfire Of The Vanities
Books
Boston Stranglers
Bruce Springsteen
Cannes
Capone Rising
Carlito's Way
Carrie
Casualties Of War
Columbo - Shooting Script
Cop-Out
Cruising
Daft Punk
Dancing In The Dark
David Koepp
De Niro
De Palma Blog-A-Thon
De Palma Discussion
Demolished Man
Dionysus In '69
Dressed To Kill
Eric Schwab
Femme Fatale
Film Series
Fire
Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Fury, The
Get To Know Your Rabbit
Greetings
Happy Valley
Heat
Hi, Mom!
Hitchcock
Home Movies
Inspired by De Palma
Iraq, etc.
Key Man, The
Lithgow
Magic Hour
Mission To Mars
Mission: Impossible
Montreal World Film Fest
Mr. Hughes
Murder a la Mod
Nancy Allen
Nazi Gold
Obsession
Oliver Stone
Paranormal Activity 2
Parker
Parties & Premieres
Passion
Paul Hirsch
Paul Schrader
Phantom Of The Paradise
Pino Donaggio
Prince Of The City
Print The Legend
Raggedy Ann
Raising Cain
Red Shoes, The
Redacted
Responsive Eye
Rie Rasmussen
Robert De Niro
Sakamoto
Scarface
Sean Penn
Sisters
Snake Eyes
Sound Mixer
Star Wars
Stepford Wives
Tabloid
Tarantino
Toronto Film Fest
Toyer
Treasure Sierra Madre
Tru Blu
TV Appearances
Untouchables
Vilmos Zsigmond
Wedding Party
William Finley
Wise Guys
Woton's Wake
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile
You are not logged in. Log in
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
ZACHAREK ON 'PROMETHEUS' & 'MISSION TO MARS'
M2M "A MUCH MORE PASSIONATE, MORE NARRATIVELY SOUND, VERSION OF THIS SORT OF INTERPLANETARY SPIRITUAL IDEALISM"
Movieline's Stephanie Zacharek finds Ridley Scott's Prometheus a bit too tasteful, overcomplicated, and ultimately lackluster. "You can practically hear Prometheus groaning under the weight of its ambitions," she muses disappointedly, adding, "it’s a far cry from the sound Scott was going for, the music of the celestial spheres." Her review includes some spoilers, but none in the following excerpt, in which she compares Prometheus to Brian De Palma's Mission To Mars...
-------------------------------------

Scott is trying to make sure Prometheus is about something, and his ideals may have distracted him from the more prosaic task of just getting on with the storytelling. When Brian De Palma presented, with Mission to Mars, a much more passionate, and more narratively sound, version of this sort of interplanetary spiritual idealism, it was treated as a “bad” science fiction movie. Prometheus, on the other hand, is tasteful even in the midst of all its squirm-inducing gross-outs, and that’s a liability: It’s impossible to have tasteful passion.
-------------------------------------

Meanwhile, De Palma a la Mod reader Sergio posted on another thread: "I just saw Prometheus and it really is a lot like Mission To Mars, and not just because they are both channelling Kubrick's 2001. Most of the action beats and story beats are pretty much the same, as is the subtext of the movie, too, about aliens seeding earth. There's even a 'Face' ..."

Posted by Geoff at 6:39 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 6, 2012 12:21 AM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (5) | Permalink | Share This Post
RAPACE: DE PALMA & I STARTED ON DIFFERENT ISLANDS
BY THE END WE HAD MOVED INTO THE SAME COUNTRY, SHARING THE VISION, SHARING THE SAME DREAM
Moviefone's Drew Taylor interviewed Noomi Rapace on the junket trail of Prometheus, and, good man that he is, managed to ask her a question about working with Brian De Palma on Passion...

[Moviefone] From one great director to the next, you've just worked with Brian De Palma on "Passion," a remake of last year's French thriller "Love Crime." What was that like?

[Noomi Rapace] Wow, yeah, that was a very different experience. I had never done anything like that. And stepping into his world, we had discussions and conversations about the script and the relationship between my character and Rachel McAdams' character. It was really interesting because it started off and we were on two different islands, me and De Palma, and when I finished, I felt we had moved into the same country and we were sharing the vision and sharing the same dream... I became really influenced and colored by my character, and she has a weird emotional life.

[Moviefone] It seems like you're kind of a lucky charm for these filmmakers returning to their favorite genres, with Ridley going back to sci-fi and De Palma returning to an erotic thriller.

[Rapace] [Laughs] Maybe!


Posted by Geoff at 6:18 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 6:20 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
RAPACE DESCRIBES HER 'PASSION' CHARACTER
"COMPLETELY DISTURBED...SHE HAS A VERY WEIRD INNER LANDSCAPE"
During an interview about Prometheus with Cinema Blend's Sean O'Connell, Noomi Rapace found herself briefly discussing her character in the upcoming Passion. Near the end of the interview, O'Connell asked Rapace about her Prometheus character, Elizabeth Shaw...

------------------------


[O'Connell] Your character has the very difficult task of bringing religion into the equation. And faith. As an actress, how much of this do you have to believe as an individual to help sell the performance? Can they be wildly different from your own beliefs?

[Noomi Rapace] I think so. I did a movie with Brian De Palma called Passion, and my character’s spirit is so completely disturbed. She has a very weird inner landscape. Her thoughts are pretty far away from my thoughts. Elizabeth Shaw is more close to me. It’s easier for me to step into her shoes. But I always say that I have to find a way to always use myself and translate things from my own life. For example, to find the religious side of her, I really had to travel back to my own childhood to remember what I thought and how I saw things. And I believed in angels. I was always pretty sure that we have two different kinds of angels – dark angels and good angels. So a lot of time, as I tried to find Elizabeth, it was almost like I traveled back into myself. You have to use yourself. Or, that’s what I need to do. I don’t want to pretend. I don’t want to fake it. I want to live it.

---------------------------

Prometheus, directed by Ridley Scott, is said to have themes akin to De Palma's Mission To Mars. It opens Friday in North America. Rapace will be a guest tonight on CBS' Late Show with David Letterman.


Posted by Geoff at 1:03 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 1:07 AM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (4) | Permalink | Share This Post
Sunday, June 3, 2012
PFEIFFER ON BEING CAST IN 'SCARFACE'
SAYS HER READING SHOCKED DE PALMA, WARY ABOUT BOTHERING WITH THE STAR OF 'GREASE 2'

One key interview figure missing in Playboy's "Making of Scarface" article last December was Michelle Pfeiffer, who played Elvira in the 1983 Brian De Palma film. The June 2012 issue of Empire features an interview with Pfeiffer that fills in that gap quite nicely. In contrast to the odd bit in the Playboy article in which an unnamed source claims that De Palma "manipulated her brutally" during filming, Pfeiffer says herself in the Empire interview that De Palma "was really lovely." The interview covers Pfeiffer's entire career, and after discussing the actress' early role in Grease 2, the interviewer segues into Scarface...

Empire: [Grease 2] almost stopped you getting the part in Scarface. Brian De Palma was reluctant to see you because of that film, right?

Pfeiffer: He was. I knew that. The casting director, Alixe Gordin, if it weren't for her, Brian wouldn't have seen me.

Empire: How did you win him over?

Pfeiffer: It was just one of those days where I happened to give a good reading and I think he was so shocked because I don't think he expected anything good to come out of my mouth. So Brian was on my side, but Al (Pacino) was a little tougher.

Empire: So how did you get Al on side?

Pfeiffer: I think it was my screen test. It was a tremendously long audition process. It went on for months. I had to keep coming back and back and back. The more I came back the worse I got because I was so nervous and I was inexperienced. Fear is the most destructive thing for an actor. So I don't blame Al for being unimpressed with me, because I kept getting worse every time I came in. Finally I think Brian had to say, "It's not going to work," because I was just bad. But he was really lovely and I was sort of relieved because they were putting me out of my misery and I just couldn't go through it anymore. So I went about my merry way and then got a call: they wanted to screen test me. And I was like, "Oh no." I was so convinced I didn't have a shot at it that I just let go and I relaxed and showed up and it went really well -- much to everyone's surprise -- and I could tell it went well. Also I made Al Pacino bleed. I cut his hand smashing [a plate].

Empire: That's a way to make sure you're remembered.

Pfeiffer: Exactly. Although, of course, it wasn't deliberate.


Posted by Geoff at 10:15 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, June 3, 2012 10:18 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Friday, June 1, 2012
TARYN SIMON & BRIAN DE PALMA IN CONVERSATION
IN SUMMER ISSUE OF ARTFORUM

ARTFORUM's summer issue includes a conversation between Brian De Palma and Taryn Simon, the photographer who created the staged photo, seen above, that comprises the final, devastating image of De Palma's Redacted. Zahra Zubaidi, the Iraqi actress in the photo, has had to seek political asylum in the United States, because her family accused her of participating in pornography (she portrays Farah, the girl who gets raped in the movie), and she was receiving death threats as a result. In the article, Simon and De Palma discuss this photo at length. De Palma tells Simon that "Zahra’s story is fascinating because she comes to audition in a movie. She plays the character of a girl who is raped and killed and set on fire, which sort of dramatizes the whole involvement of America in Iraq, and the penalty she has to pay for it is she is a pariah in the Muslim world. They want her dead because of the fact that she portrayed this character." Simon has presented the photograph at the Venice Biennale, and included three progressive annotations as its context was altered. Each of these annotations is presented in full in the ARTFORUM article. Simon explains it this way to De Palma:

The photograph began as a fictionalized rendering of a real event. The resulting image of Zahra, an Iraqi actress, playing the role of this young girl led to the second annotation associated with the image. That text highlights the response to Zahra’s portrayal—the death threats from family members; the criticism from friends and neighbors, who considered her participation in the film to be pornography. The photograph was completely recontextualized by these accusations. It became evidence of a new reality—a reality in which Zahra had to pursue political asylum in the United States. In the third and final annotation, written in 2011, I cite her legal defense, which used the international exhibition of this photograph at the Venice Biennale as a factor contributing to her endangerment. The photograph and its exhibition were used to reveal a continued threat and, at the same time, to support Zahra’s case for political asylum, which was granted in 2011. She couldn’t go home because of the images. You could see an image’s very real influence on an individual life from start to finish: from a casting call with you in Jordan to ending up in the United States and receiving political asylum.

DE PALMA ON RETURNING TO FILMMAKING AFTER SEVERAL YEARS
The conversation begins with Simon asking De Palma if he thought his aesthetic was conscious or unconscious as he shot his early documentary The Responsive Eye. This leads De Palma into an illuminating discussion of his process, as well as his recent work on Passion...

BDP: Look, the hard thing—I’m sure you’ve experienced this, too—is that once you have a project, you think about how you’re going to photograph the scene until you actually do it. I have always felt that the camera view is just as important as what’s in front of the camera. Consequently, I’m obsessed with how I’m shooting the scene. When you’re making a movie, you think about it all the time—you’re dreaming about it, you wake up with ideas in the middle of the night—until you actually go there and shoot it. You have these ideas that are banging around in your head, but once you objectify them and lock them into a photograph or cinema sequence, then they get away from you. They’re objectified; they no longer haunt you.

TS: The haunting can be torturous. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed the making of my work. It’s a labor. Do you find pleasure in getting to that point of objectification?

BDP: You know, there is no rest. That’s the problem. I haven’t directed a movie in several years, and I’ve forgotten what it’s like. Now I’m doing a remake, a film based on Crime d’amour [2010], which was directed by the late Alain Corneau and written with Natalie Carter and starred Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier. It’s about two executives fighting for power. One humiliates the other, and one kills the other. It’s basically a murder mystery. In the new version, the two leads are Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace. They are extremely formidable characters. It’s all about the women—the guy is just manipulated by them, like a trained animal.

So I have basically been in this hotel room in Berlin since, I don’t know, January 6, working on this shoot. I don’t go anywhere except when I go to the set or when I have to look at a location or work with an actor.

I’m a very solitary figure on set—I just walk in. I don’t want to say hello and kiss everybody. I’m completely uninterested in that because—I’m sure you have the same feeling—when you go to shoot a movie, you’ve assembled hundreds of people waiting for you to tell them what to do. For the first time, you’ve got the actors. You have the location. You have the cinematographer. You have the weather, the light, the emotional stance of the various people around you, and it’s catching lightning in a bottle. You’re there to maximize the moment on film. And you’d better be very alert and watching everything constantly, because once you shoot it, it’s gone forever. If you make a mistake or haven’t thought everything through correctly, you will look at that mistake for the rest of your life.

TS: Yes—there’s enormous pressure on the day of shooting. And photography’s history is bound to the mistake, to the accident. But I’ve never been one to embrace surprise. I think the invisible lead-up to the point of actually taking a photograph is, in many ways, my medium. Years of research, accessing, organizing, and writing are behind the construction of a single piece. But no matter how prepared and calculated the details of the shoot days are, its imagined form always seems to crumble and mutate.

BDP: I guess a lot of people shoot alternatives. I never do that. I spend months planning it all out, and then we actually edit as we shoot. I know exactly where the camera should be and how all the film fits together.

TS: Yeah, me too.

BDP: But if something happens on the set that’s different, I immediately accommodate it. You don’t want to go in with such a rigid idea that this is the way it should be. You have to see what is there. These are living creatures in front of you.

TS: But accommodation can be dangerous. It’s important to remind yourself of what you want and not get lost in the noise of it all. Sadly, one has to do a lot of interacting, which I find distracting. I avoid lunch and conversation as much as possible. There is no time or space for anything other than the work. But there’s a perceived cruelty in that focus.

BDP: I’m exactly the same way. I never talk to my driver while going to work. I never eat lunch with anybody.

AMBIGUOUS PHOTOGRAPHS, REDACTED IMAGES, MAINSTREAM MEDIA, CONSUMERISM, SPLIT SCREENS, MARS & MORE
All of the above are discussed in this fascinating conversation, which is best read from start to finish-- click here to read the whole thing.


Posted by Geoff at 9:40 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink | Share This Post
Thursday, May 31, 2012
SALAMON TO SPEAK AFTER 'BONFIRE' SCREENING
JOURNALISM FILM SERIES AT NY PUBLIC LIBRARY FOR PERFORMING ARTS
Brian De Palma's The Bonfire Of The Vanities will screen at 6:30pm Thursday June 28th, as part of the film series, "All the News That's Fit to Screen." The series, which celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the New York Public Library's Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, will be presented every Thursday from tonight through June 28 at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Journalist Julie Salamon, author of the book The Devil's Candy, which details the behind-the-scenes happenings during the making of Bonfire, will participate in a Q&A after the screening. The series kicked off tonight with Billy Ray's Shattered Glass. The other films are George Stevens' Woman Of The Year (June 7), Alexander Mackendrick's Sweet Smell of Success (June 14), and Marina Goldovskaya's A Bitter Taste of Freedom (June 21).

Posted by Geoff at 8:13 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
ISHAM: SCORING DE PALMA FILM WAS A HIGH POINT
"I HAVE A LOT OF FOND MEMORIES OF THAT ONE"
Mark Isham, who scored Brian De Palma's The Black Dahlia in 2006, was interviewed for the recent book, Soundtrack Nation, by Tom Hoover. Hoover asked Isham if he could name a few personal favorites out of the "vast portfolio of scores" he has composed over the years. Here is Isham's reply, from pages 4-5 of the book:

Well, there are lots of reasons for having favorite moments in scores. Crash, I have to say, still has a fond spot in my heart, because I felt that it was the right choice of genre for that film, and I think it did everything and more that you could ask a score to do for a film, under "interesting" budgetary constraints, which seems to be more and more a part of the equation these days. Having said that, the opportunity to score a Brian De Palma film with a large symphony orchestra still remains one of my high points, simply because as a composer, that's a great opportunity-- the large orchestral scores are a hell of a lot of fun! That particular one, because it had the jazz influence and I played the solo trumpet parts myself-- I have a lot of fond memories of that one.

Posted by Geoff at 11:44 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 11:48 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Monday, May 28, 2012
'PASSION' MIGHT PLAY VENICE FEST
DE PALMA, MALICK, ANDERSON AMONG DIRECTORS MENTIONED BY NEW ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
The Hollywood Reporter's Eric J. Lyman reports today that Alberto Barbera, the newly installed artistic director of the Venice Film Festival, talked to Italian reporters over the weekend about possible directors who may be bringing their new films to the festival this year. Among those he mentioned were Brian De Palma, Terrence Malick and Paul Thomas Anderson. De Palma's two most recent films, Redacted and The Black Dahlia, each had their premieres at the Venice Film Festival. De Palma received the director's prize (the Silver Lion) for Redacted at the fest in 2007. This year's festival runs August 29-Sept. 8, which means there is a possibility Passion may have its premiere a mere three months from now.

Posted by Geoff at 8:37 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, May 28, 2012 10:58 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink | Share This Post
DE PALMA ATTENDS 'PROMETHEUS' SCREENING IN PARIS
RAPACE GETTING POSITIVE REMARKS IN EARLY REVIEWS
A press screening for Ridley Scott's Prometheus was held in Paris Monday, and according to a couple of Twitter postings, Brian De Palma was in attendance. Christopher Ramoné tweeted that De Palma was there with Paris Match film critic Christine Haas. Journalist Bertrand Rocher tweeted that he was seated beside De Palma at the screening. The screening full of French critics surely provided De Palma an early sense of how Noomi Rapace will be talked about as Prometheus makes its way around the world. While early reviews from critics at the screening seem to be mixed about Prometheus, there seems to be a consensus that Rapace is very good in the film. Ecranlarge's Simon Riaux gives the film four out of five stars, and says that "Michael Fassbender quickly steals the show from the impeccable Noomi Rapace." Riaux later states in the review that while both Rapace and Fassbender are "brilliant," the rest of the cast are stuck in mechanical roles. A negative review from CloneWeb's Marc complains about cardboard characters at the script level, but says that Rapace "comes out honorably." Another blog review from a disappointed Céline at Just Cinema mentions that Rapace and Fassbender are, again, the best of the cast.

Posted by Geoff at 1:23 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Friday, May 25, 2012
RAPACE INTERVIEWED ON SET OF 'PASSION'
SCENE WITH PAUL ANDERSON: SHE SPEAKS TO MASK OF RACHEL MCADAMS
Noomi Rapace is the cover story of this Sunday's New York Times Magazine, in anticipation of the release of the upcoming Ridley Scott film Prometheus. For the article inside, Karen Olsson visited Rapace in Berlin while the actress was filming Passion, and the article ends with some very intriguing happenings on the set of the film, where Rapace was working on a post-sex scene with Paul Anderson. Here are the Passion-related excerpts:

When I met Rapace in Berlin this spring, the 32-year-old actress was filming “Passion” with the director Brian De Palma, and her focus on the tasks at hand seemed to distract her from the approach of the tidal wave that is “Prometheus,” a big summer movie directed by Ridley Scott and starring Rapace. The film, Scott and 20th Century Fox insist, is not so much a prequel to Scott’s 1979 landmark film “Alien” as it is one that “shares DNA” with “Alien” — make what you will of that distinction. Regardless, Rapace’s Elizabeth Shaw, as the lead of an “Alien”-type film, will assume the place of Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley. The significance, on-screen and off, is slowly sinking in for her. “Some people in London came up to me on the street and said: ‘You’re Noomi Rapace? Oh, my God, you’re the new Ripley, is it true?’ ” she says. “I started to realize this can actually be quite big in a way that I hadn’t really expected.”

During my visit to Berlin, the weather was improbably balmy, and a youngish, well-turned-out set found its way to the rooftop pool and bar at the Soho House Berlin, a hotel and club in a restored Bauhaus building that at one time was the headquarters of the Hitler Youth and before that a Jewish-owned department store. There among the sunbathers, paddling around the small pool, was a cheerful, toothy boy wearing a mask and a snorkel: this was Rapace’s son, Lev, age 8. In February he came with his mother to Berlin, where he attended a Swedish school. He would spend the latter part of the spring in Turkey to be with his father, Noomi’s ex-husband, Ola Rapace. (An actor himself, Ola had gone to Turkey to play a villain in the next James Bond movie, “Skyfall.”) Noomi joined Lev in the water for a while, and later she warned him not to splash too much, for the sake of the people in the poolside loungers, though privately she grumbled that people who can’t abide a splash or two shouldn’t sit next to the pool.

YOUNG RAPACE WAS BEWITCHED BY VIOLENT HOLLYWOOD MOVIES
She was a restless, willful girl — “I was always running and climbing and building things” — and her parents, fearing she wouldn’t be well served by the local public school in Iceland, moved back to Sweden, to a small town in the south. At 11, she started taking judo lessons, and for a while she was devoted to that sport. She was also bewitched by Hollywood movies with violence in them — “True Romance,” “Thelma and Louise,” “Alien,” “The Terminator,” “Scarface,” “Rambo” — as well as “La Femme Nikita” and kung fu movies...

RAPACE PREPARED FOR 'CONTROL FREAK' ISABELLE BY DOING BIKRAM YOGA
In anticipation of each part she plays, Rapace chooses a training regimen (or, sometimes, a lack thereof) not simply to get in shape but to adjust her relationship with her body. To become Lisbeth Salander, she Thai-boxed and kickboxed, because she wanted to awaken her fighting spirit. Before appearing in “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” Rapace’s first Hollywood movie, she stayed away from the gym, which she said would have been wrong for her Victorian-era-gypsy role, but she studied with a gypsy-dance expert. And for “Passion,” the film she came to Berlin to do, she decided on Bikram yoga, because she felt that its regimented sequence of poses would appeal to her character, Isabelle — “a control freak,” she called her.

RAPACE IS VERY FILMMAKER-DRIVEN IN CHOOSING HER ROLES
Regarding her future projects, “she’s very filmmaker-driven,” [Rapace's manager Shelley] Browning says. “And she laments the same thing that all female actresses lament, that there are rarely great roles for women.” Rapace is at low risk for being typecast, because she conforms to no recognizable type. Her face is arresting, with large, alert eyes and cheekbones that seem poised to burst, “Alien”-style, out from beneath her pale skin. She won’t show up in a romantic comedy any time soon, Browning says — “I just don’t know that she responds to those kinds of characters” — but she is not ruling anything out. After I spoke with her in Berlin, Rapace was reunited with [Niels Arden] Oplev, the director of the first “Millennium” movie, to shoot a thriller in Philadelphia co-starring Colin Farrell, in which she portrays a woman who was disfigured in an accident. She also plans to play opposite her ex-husband in a biopic directed by Catherine Hardwicke, about the romance between the boxer Bo Hogberg and the singer Anita Lindblom.

ON THE SET OF 'PASSION', GOING OVER LINE READINGS WITH DE PALMA & PAUL ANDERSON
On my last morning in Berlin, I accompanied Rapace to the “Passion” set, inside an apartment building in a fashionable neighborhood. The set itself was a Euro-creepy bedroom, with scaly black curtains, a round, black bed in the middle, a stuffed bird on a dresser and an open bathroom. Because of the room’s small size, most of the crew huddled in the hall, while De Palma and the cinematographer José Luis Alcaine sat in chairs in the back of the room, near the camera and monitor. It was a post-sex scene that Rapace was performing, with the actor Paul Anderson, and after she changed into her costume — a man’s dress shirt — and her hair and makeup were adjusted to look tousled and slightly sweat-dampened, they read through the dialogue.

In the film, based on a French thriller, Rapace’s Isabelle suffers at the hands of Christine, her manipulative boss, played by Rachel McAdams, then seeks revenge. During this scene, Isabelle, who has just slept with Christine’s lover (played by Anderson) at his apartment, discovers a trove of sex toys. These include a ghostly mask of Christine herself, with white skin and long blond hair, which Isabelle holds up to the light and then addresses.

During the read-through, Rapace questioned De Palma about a couple of lines in which Isabelle talks to the mask, suggesting they weren’t consistent with how she played an earlier scene. She substituted another line, mimicking something Christine has already said: “I used to want to be admired, now I want to be loved.”

As they started filming, Rapace adjusted her performance slightly with each take — more smiling in one, more solemn in the next. And when it came time to shoot her close-up, Rapace and De Palma started analyzing the line again. “Maybe I should just do it more simply,” she said. It was a strange declaration — “I used to want to be admired, now I want to be loved” — to hear Rapace-as-Isabelle make, over and over, after having listened to Rapace-as-Rapace tell me how much she hoped not to fall prey to those desires. She went on to try a few different phrasings, cooing each one to the mask of Rachel McAdams, and finally pared it down to this: “I wanted to be admired, but now I want to be loved.”


Posted by Geoff at 9:30 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, May 26, 2012 9:39 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post

Newer|Latest|Older