Noomi Rapace, who plays Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish movies of the Stieg Larsson "Millennium Trilogy" (including today's opening, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest," above), has been reported as a top candidate for Ridley Scott's forthcoming "Alien" prequel. The other potential stars are strong contenders: Olivia Wilde, Carey Mulligan, Abbie Cornish and Natalie Portman.
But to my mind Rapace has the just the right imaginative talent and physicality and freshness for an "Alien" movie. The Swedish "Millennium movies" have done well in America, but only on an art house scale. Even if their audience continues to grow on DVD, to most blockbuster fans Rapace will offer novelty and surprise.
So did Sigourney Weaver in "Alien." The incomparably commanding and expressive Weaver had been a stage performer with one film bit-part to her credit, in "Annie Hall." But her confidence and vision won over the producers and the studio. She became Ellen Ripley -- in her words, "a very matter-of-fact person" with "very rational training" whose "beliefs are exploded in the film when she suddenly has to work on instinct and emotion rather than intellect."
If a similar combination goes into the rebooted franchise's new lead character, it will be a change of pace for Rapace. Lisbeth Salander's childhood and adult worlds are both so chaotic and volatile that her intellect has often been her salvation.
Would you like to see Rapace in the outer space of "Alien" -- a place where, famously, "no one can hear you scream?"