When Noomi Rapace signed on last month to play the female lead in Guy Ritchie’s sequel, Sherlock Holmes 2, the early rumors had her pegged as playing a French gypsy in the film.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo star has confirmed that rumor and opened up a bit about her preparation for the role in the Sherlock Holmes followup, which the Swedish actress indicated will maintain the fun and fast-paced feel of the first film.

Rapace delivered a dramatically intense performance as troubled goth hacker Lisbeth Salander in her native country’s film adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy. While her role as a gypsy – who Rapace describes as “a traveler [who is] cool [but] a bit crazy” – in Sherlock Holmes 2 will be far less emotionally demanding than her turn in Dragon Tattoo, Rapace is already doing lots of research to make sure her character looks and feels authentic.

Here’s how Rapace is preparing for Sherlock Holmes 2, in her own words:

“I’m doing a lot of research about gypsies. I’m going to Paris to visit some gypsy camps, and I’m going to Transylvania to actually see how they live. Because the gypsies are so poor, they live pretty much the same as they did then, and they keep in the traditions and all of that, so when you go to Transylvania, for example, they live pretty close to the way they lived hundreds of years ago. So I’m listening to gypsy music and I’m learning to sing and dance.”

Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. on the set of 'Sherlock Holmes 2'.

Sherlock Holmes was very much an energetic adventure full of exciting set pieces and humor – largely due to Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as the bromantic duo of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, respectively.  Rapace has indicated that the sequel will be very much in a similar vein, and though we never really doubted that Sherlock Holmes 2 would be anything else, it’s still nice to know for certain.

The plot of Sherlock Holmes 2 is being kept under wraps for the time being, though we know it will revolve around a battle of wits (and fists, possibly) between Holmes and his arch-nemesis, Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris). We’ll see what else Ritchie has in store for us next year.

Sherlock Holmes 2 arrives in theaters in the U.S. on December 16th, 2011.

Source: Cinematical