Actress Noomi Rapace was a relative unknown to international audiences for the majority of her acting career - until she landed the role of Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish big-screen version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (and its two sequels), placing her firmly on everyone's radar.
However, it isn't just audiences and critics that have been impressed by Rapace's pitch-perfect work as Salander (she's won a major international award and has been tipped for an Oscar nomination for her performance in Dragon Tattoo) but also those working within the industry.
Rapace was recently in Hollywood to discuss possible roles in huge projects such as Mission: Impossible IV and Sherlock Holmes 2. Things must have gone well in at least one of those meetings as Rapace has officially landed her first English-language role as the female lead in Sherlock Holmes 2 opposite Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law.
Something tells me that, with her talent as an actress and a role in such a high-profile film, she'll become a household name rather quickly (the next Marion Cotillard, perhaps?).
Rapace's role in Holmes 2 is a secret for the time being but sources claim she'll play some sort of "French Gypsy." Since Rachel McAdams will supposedly have a such smaller role in the sequel, than she did in the first film, it can logically be speculated that Rapace will serve as a new romantic interest for Downey's Holmes.
However, since there's nothing definitive known about the character, then it's pure guesswork at this point. Romantic interest or not, Rapace's role has to be significant in order to be defined as the "female lead."
With her casting in the retro-detective sequel, I wouldn't be surprised if we hear that Rapace has landed the other roles she was in Hollywood to discuss. I actually expected her to get the coveted female role in Mission: Impossible IV (which ultimately went to Paula Patton) since she was in town for that meeting. Another potential Rapace projects could be a starring spot alongside Jeremy Renner in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, which follows the duo for 15 years as bounty hunters who chase witches.
The plot of Sherlock Holmes 2 is just as shrouded in mystery as Rapace's role. However, The Hollywood Reporter asserts that it will involve Holmes' biggest enemy, Moriarty (rumored at different stages to be played by heavy-hitters such as Brad Pitt or Daniel Day-Lewis), and will also feature an appearance from Holmes' brother, Mycroft.
It sounds like they're trying to step-up their game for the Sherlock Holmes sequel. Along with exciting casting, and character additions, they will hopefully improve upon some of the weaknesses of the first film - a more cohesive storyline and less reliance on a big explanation at the end would be a great start in my opinion.
Sherlock Holmes 2 goes into production sometime later this year - although no official release date has been set yet (expect late 2011/early 2012 - possibly in 3D).
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
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