She is best known for her portrayal of Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish/Danish film adaptations of the Millennium series: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest.
She is also known for playing Leena in Beyond (2010), Anna in Babycall (2011), Madame Simza in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011), and the lead role of Dr. Elizabeth Shaw in the Ridley Scott science fiction film Prometheus (2012).
Rapace was born in Hudiksvall, Sweden. Her mother, Nina Norén (born Kristina Norén; 1954) is a Swedish actress, and her father, Rogelio Durán (November 10, 1953 – November 4, 2006), was a Spanish Flamenco singer from Badajoz.
She has said that her father may have been of part Roma descent, and though she is "not sure if it is true," she has "always been interested in the culture."
Rapace's sister, Særún Norén, is a photographer.
Rapace has said she saw her father only occasionally before his death. At the age of five, she moved from her native Sweden to Flúðir, Iceland with her mother and stepfather. Two years later, she made her film debut in a minor role in In the Shadow of the Raven.
At the age of seven, Rapace was given her first film role, which was a non-speaking part in the film Í skugga hrafnsins by Hrafn Gunnlaugsson. This experience made her decide to be an actress. She left home at age 15 and enrolled in a Stockholm theatre school.
Rapace at the 2007 San Sebastián International Film Festival. In 1996, she made her television debut playing the part of Lucinda Gonzales in the series Tre kronor. From 1998 to 1999, Rapace studied at Skara Skolscen.
She has been engaged at Theater Plaza 2000–01, Orionteatern 2001, Teater Galeasen 2002, Stockholms stadsteater in 2003 as well as at the Royal Dramatic Theatre. In 2007, she won acclaim for her award-winning portrayal of a troubled teen mother in the Danish film Daisy Diamond, directed by Simon Staho.
She won the two top film awards in Denmark (the Bodil and Robert prize) for Best Actress for her role in the film, which was also selected for the main competition at the San Sebastián International Film Festival. The film was criticized for the abuse a baby actor was subjected to during production.
In 2009 she played the role of Lisbeth Salander in the television adaptation of the best-selling novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, reprising this role in the sequels The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (all three were originally screened as two-part telemovies, then re-edited for theatrical release). On September 11, 2010, Entertainment Weekly reported that Rapace had been cast in Guy Richie's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, her first English-speaking role, as a French Gypsy; the film was released in 2011.
Her breakthrough in America is considered to be Ridley Scott's project called Prometheus where she played the leading role, a scientist named Elizabeth Shaw. She had met Scott for the first time following the release of the Millennium trilogy movies, at which point he expressed a willingness to work with her and encouraged her to improve her accent.
Prometheus was released in June 2012.
She will star alongside Rachel McAdams in Brian De Palma's erotic thriller Passion, which is the English-language remake of 2010's French psychological thriller Love Crime.
They both appeared in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows but did not share scenes together.
As of June 2012, she is shooting Niels Arden Oplev's crime thriller Dead Man Down.
In November 2012 she appeared as the lead role in a Rolling Stones video for the single "Doom and Gloom" shot in the studios of the Cité du Cinéma by Luc Besson in Saint-Denis.
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