Noomi Rapace: ‘London is an intelligent city. I feel way more at home here’

Paris Fashion Week Men’s Autumn/Winter 2019

Noomi Rapace is currently promoting Stockholm, or The Captor. The film’s name changes depending on where you are – it’s Stockholm in America, and I think it’s The Captor in Britain and maybe other European countries. It’s the film about the infamous bank robbery and hostage situation in a Stockholm bank in 1973, from which we get the term “Stockholm Syndrome,” where the people being held captive quickly began to identify with their captors rather than the Swedish police who were trying to rescue them. Noomi is one of the captive bank people and Ethan Hawke is the main bank heister. It looks like an interesting film. To promote the film, Noomi chatted with The Guardian about feminism, female characters and what Stieg Larsson would think of the world today. Noomi starred in the film adaptations of Larsson’s Millennium trilogy books, where she was the first (and best) Lisbeth Salander.

On what the late Stieg Larsson would think of the world today: “Stieg would be so upset today. He would go ballistic about everything that is going on. I feel I know that.” Rapace told the Observer that if the novelist were alive, she believes he would be campaigning against “horrible” international events and fresh threats to feminism, so she feels a responsibility to speak out: “He believed in helping women and showing how they are really strong. If he knew about the new abortion laws in the United States he would be angry. He was a man who stood against all that.”

She was working in New Orleans when the abortion laws were introduced: “I was so upset to be in the city. It is so backwards and so horrible.”

Fighting sexism: “Things are slowly changing, but I have been fighting this structure, the way actresses are sexualised, since I started acting, not just after #MeToo. And not just on screen, but in the industry, too. I’ve been trying to avoid becoming a ‘cute object’. I fight it every day. I want to be a mirror of the world on screen instead.”

Women need to take control of their own lives: “We can’t wait for things to happen, we need our own oxygen. I feel it is also important not to see yourself as a victim. You give away power when you do that.”

On Stockholm Syndrome: “It is a condition that is universal. It happens all around us. I have a girlfriend who, a while ago, stayed with a man who was mistreating her. It was like a harmful dose of Stockholm syndrome. It happens in the wider world, too, when someone in power is convincing or charming, although not good for you. We often lose ourselves a little bit, but we should listen to who we really are.”

Her future goals: “I want to do more work about women. Close, the last film I made with my friend, the director Vicky Jewson, was about a woman bodyguard. We are working on a second project together now. It is set in the 1970s again, an era I love, and it is about Sylvia Raphael, the Mossad agent involved in the Lillehammer affair.” (This was the murder by Israeli agents of a Moroccan waiter in Norway they mistook for a terrorist leader.)

She now feels more English than Swedish, having lived in London for years. “I love this country. There is a lot of weird stuff happening in the world, but we need to remember we are all one tribe really and that we should have each other’s backs. If we don’t help people, it is going to come back on us. London is an intelligent city. I feel way more at home here. I even cry when I fly back in over London. There is room for everything in this city. It is a divine mix – a mini version of the rest of the world. If it can work here, it can work anywhere.”

[From The Guardian]

It’s nice that she can see the good of London, the multiculturalism, the diversity, the multifaith society living in harmony, but hasn’t Brexit become an affront to that? Again, I’m not saying that’s ON Noomi, but she’s like “New Orleans is trash” because Louisiana misogynists are banning abortion but she won’t say “London is trash” when the UK is shooting itself in the multicultural foot with Brexit? I also find it interesting that she’s talking about Stieg Larsson’s legacy and what he would think about everything that’s happening today – Larsson died under mysterious circumstances in 2004, and yes – ALL of our 2004-selves would sh-t a brick if we saw what was coming in 2019.

British Fashion Awards 2018 - Arrival

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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32 Responses to “Noomi Rapace: ‘London is an intelligent city. I feel way more at home here’”

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  1. Hyenas says:

    London overwhelmingly voted to remain.

    • Mara says:

      This ^^^. How about instead of trashing both New Orleans and London, she’s nice about both cities because some of the people that live there are nice.

    • Mara says:

      This ^^^. How about instead of trashing both New Orleans and London, she’s nice about both cities.

    • SM says:

      If it was up to London, Brexit would not exist. So she didn’t say anything wrong. Now, the fact that London, just like many capitals of Europe tend to exist in a sort of liberal/more progressive bubble, is true.

  2. Eliza says:

    I don’t think she means it that way but just reading it, it sounds like she’s tooting her own horn that she’s so intelligent and feels more home in intelligent London than Sweden. Poor Sweden.

    • minx says:

      That’s the way I read it.

    • Snowslow says:

      I’m from Lisbon and live in London. Some days I talk like her about both cities. You definitely feel that you are in a contemporary place in London, Madonna, Fassbender and Monica Belluci notwithstanding (they all live in Lisbon). Everything is taken to its limits in terms of danger but also quality (a bit like in NY I feel) and it gets quite addictive to be so in touch with the professional hustling level you can get to here. I feel definitely more intellectually challenged here than her (I am in an academic setting). I get her. Poor Lisbon perhaps but I also go back regularly for a bit of quiet introspection and the great Atlantic sea, my family, my friends.

      • Snowslow says:

        … challenged here than THERE not her (!)

      • K.D. says:

        What was it like living in Lisbon? Has it changed much since you grew up?

      • Snowslow says:

        @K.D. it changed quite a bit. I was born 2 years after the revolution. I remember seeing whole buildings left to rot and in ruins, a lot of revolutionary tags on the walls. The back of my building was surrounded by abandoned fields with favela-like houses, whereas the front street was a bourgeois area with cafes and shops. There was no subway (or just two lines) and MacDonalds arrived in the 90s (now that that’s a plus but it is a sign of globalism).
        Now the city is super modern, no abandoned buildings and the 3rd wave of African descendants are mixed with the white Portuguese (or more mixed), there are even one or two black actors!… Angolan music is all the rage… Things are slowly changing but it is still a tad provincial. Like my best friend says, it’s still the same but very cool.

  3. deezee says:

    There is a homogeny to the US that isn’t felt in some other western societies. So I can understand why she would equate the laws of Louisiana more closely to the people of Louisiana, than say Brexit and the people of the city of London. London is definitely more diverse, not as diverse as say Toronto which celebrates cultural diversity like no other city I have been in, but in London it’s more entrenched in the culture. So I can see how she can separate it.

    • Andrea says:

      I have been in Toronto 7 years and although it is vastly diverse, which I love, I find it terribly cold (and I don’t mean with regards to the weather). It is so difficult to form deep, meaningful friendships; people you can rely on. I am originally from the US and found it far easier throughout the US to form friendships that are for a lifetime. I have friends 10, 20, 30 years in the US that I could count on to help me out no matter what. I wonder how London is in comparison for I am contemplating studying abroad in the UK.

      • deezee says:

        It isn’t a coldness, but reserved. Canadians in general are quite reserved. You may need to make extra effort to get people out of their comfort zone.

        I should add, I would love to live in London, even for a little while. I work with a lot of British people in Toronto, and they all tell me its much nicer here, and friendlier people (so you may also find it hard there) but I’d personally like to give it a go for a bit.

      • Andrea says:

        I am not quite sure how to do this. It appears they have their 3 friends from high school or university and anyone else is a mere casual acquaintance to entertain them when they are bored or their partner is unavailable. I feel like a try hard when I ask people to do things. I want to be wanted to hang out with and to not always be the one to make arrangements or to ask when we can hang out again. I never felt this way in the US and it makes me feel unlikeable.

      • ZsaZsa Fierce says:

        I know exactly what you mean, Andrea! I live in Ontario and I can relate. The ‘niceness’/’politeness’ is superficial and doesn’t come across as being genuine. You can make all the effort you want but you’ll always second guess the reception you get. I may be wrong but I associate England with sincerity, a quality I appreciate better.

      • Skwinkee says:

        What part of the city do you live in? I was a West siiiiiiiide, and always found the people there a bit more open and spiritual and easy going. I couldn’t see people being so open in Forest Hill.

        I joined a book club and it was amazing. I think you have to keep plugging. Making friends after you have finished your “communal” experiences like school/uni/first job is so so so hard. It’s like dating. I truly hope you find your person in the city and can come to enjoy it!

    • tcbc says:

      London is not more diverse than New Orleans, though.

  4. Snowslow says:

    I moved to London from Paris in 2012 before… the madness. London is amazing actually. You can dress the way you like, there are so many music venues, so many amazing authors, such freedom body-wise (I’ve never seen so plus-size women with more conventionally pretty men anywhere else and vice-versa)…
    The real problem with the whole of the UK is the completely clueless political class ruling us (Labour included). The morning after Brexit when we took our kids to school British parents apologised to us for their country. There was an uncanny silence and we were all shaking our heads in bewilderment. Real estate speculation with no care for accessibility and sustainability is a big problem.
    Then there are arseholes everywhere. There is a lot of racism, a lot of inequality, knife crime is through the roof, terrorism (albeit a known phenomenon with IRA) shook everyone up. Brexit definitely opened Pandora’s box. But we’re fighting back, going to climate change marches, women’s march, anti-Brexit demonstrations. signing petitions… The rest of the UK is not up to speed with the capital and that is one of the problems actually. London is a very nice (and expensive) bubble.

    • BucketO says:

      The knife crime is terrifying and so much of it is that no one will admit what the real problem is. Unless Sadiq takes a moment to stop whining and allows greater stop and search powers, more young men of colour will be killed.

      • Snowslow says:

        I read that he needs to look at Glasgow and see how they did it and, for the life of me, it did not include more stop and searches that actually will target not only the perpetrators but also the victims. I believe they are completely understaffed and the Police is underpaid and afraid. The levels of mental illness and burn out are through the roof. It’s a very complicated subject that has to be handled with a variety of measures. If only it were just a simple change in the system…

      • BucketO says:

        The Glasgow situation is not comparable.
        The Police are understaffed. They are underpaid. That isn’t going to change overnight. More money to the Police and more recruitment will take years to have any effect.

        I don’t understand how for some, it’s preferable that young men of colour are stabbed to death versus increasing stop and search.

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        I agree Kahn needs to do more to deal with the increase in violent crime in the city, the big issue is that gang violence has gotten out of control. Lack of opportunities and safe environments is driving young men and women of colour into gangs. Once in its difficult to get back out again.

        Stop and search is NOT going to help, its only going to make the situation worse as black men are unfairly targeted by police as it is. The police force in the entire country is underfunded and understaffed. If they got the funding the could easily recruit from the armed forces, I have a cousin who when he left the army the Police force tried very hard to recruit him, he was tempted but wanted to train as a personal trainer.

      • Andrea says:

        How is the crime in Glasgow compared to say Detroit or St Louis in the Us? I was always under the impression the UK is far safer than most violent cities in the US and I believe that is still the case. To me, as long as it is an improvement compared to the US, I will live there.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      ITA, I live in London and I love it. It’s city that has everything and welcomes everybody but like other cities it has its a$$holes. I agree that the rest of the country is not where the capital is (but where is TBH), many people view London as some sort of other planet. They think we all live in a bubble where the fruits are plentiful, its not. If the job market in London is fkd (and the contract market is) then its worse everywhere else.

      And yeah Brexit is Pandora’s Box that is going to blow up in all our faces.

  5. Margaritas For Breakfast says:

    London is full of racist royal reporters & tabloids & piers morgan

  6. kerwood says:

    What an unintelligent thing to say.

    I was born in London and know it’s a great city. And I guess London would be wonderful for a rich, White, famous woman. But London is the city where a passing truck driver spat in my face so…. it ain’t heaven for everybody.

    • Moneypenny says:

      Exactly. London is a wonderful city and I love it there. But let’s not pretend it is always great to be a person of color there.

  7. perplexed says:

    The issue(s) of Brexit are different from what New Orleans might be facing with abortion laws. I think the issues are way too difficult to compare. I also think she might have implied that London is more of her home than the city she lived in in Sweden. I’m not really sure why it would be assumed she was comparing London to New Orleans. No place on Earth is perfect, but I do think London is a city you can easily fall in love would be depending on your mindset so I don’t get why her answer would be analyzed like she’s writing an answer to a college thesis. she didn’t. She didn’t say New Orleans is trash. She simple said the laws were horrible, which, duh, everyone else is saying too, including this blog.

  8. amilou says:

    I did enjoy her Lisbeth Salander, but in everything else I’ve seen her act in….it’s bad, y’all. Real bad.

  9. Savannah says:

    My main issue with the UK is the way people there seems to think the royal family and all of those aristocrats are important to their country. And it seems like which class you belong is as equally important there as in India. Crazy!

    It’s madness to put human beings on a pedestals like that. They’re human beings, people, flesh and bones, not made of gold.
    And the royal family are merely people born into a lot of fortune, not Gods.

  10. Annaloo. says:

    She’s a pill to work with. A real pill.