a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Sweden’

Melissa Leo’s BAFTA snub? A death blow to her Oscar campaign?

When BAFTA announced yesterday morn that they were putting “The King’s Speech” on top of THEIR Oscar pile (The BAFTAs are considered the British Oscars) and that Movie About Typing at the Bottom with only 6 nominations, which it may not win.

Everybody took notice.

Why? Well, yes, the traditional age-old Snob Effect on the Academy of anything limey. Well, not ANYthing. They seemed to have kicked “Another Year” to the curb, sadly. WHERE IS LESLIE MANVILLE?!? Probably in Oscar limbo forever.

Category confusion is Oscar’s most deadly disease.

After winning Best Actress from the National Board of Review, Manville turned up NOwhere in the U.S. lists,or anywhere else, until she appeared in Supporting Actress at the BAFTA awards. Surprise! There she was at last. Back in her own country, not as Best Actress, but as Best Supporting Actress.

But the BIGGEST surprise of the BAFTAS that landed with a WALLOP was the omission of Golden Globe and BFCA winner for Best Supporting Actress( I tell ya, that race is a doozy this year) MELISSA LEO?!?

HOW is this possible? Well, I guess the Brits didn’t like the “Fighter” THAT much. They didn’t nominate it for Best Picture,and though they grudingly nominated Christian Bale and Amy Adams in Supporting,  they RRRREALLLY didn’t like Melissa’s Grand Guignol Monster Mom from Massachusetts.

Shocking it was that she was riding high SUNDAY NIGHT and now Monday morning they shot her down! She’s in stark jeopardy!

Oh, she’ll be nominated all right. The nominations had to be in to be counted by Friday. But can she win without the prestige of a BAFTA nom NOT on her CV?

In such a constantly changing category as this year’s Best Supporting Actress,(and Best Actress, too, come to think of it, but more on that later) Melissa Leo can be now counted as NOT A SURE THING. But don’t worry Melissa Leo fans, she WILL be nominated! But winning, I wonder…

I think she’s a great unsung American actress, who is now being sung.

But her low-class harpie mom-ster, Alice Eklund, may not be the right tune for the snobby Academy, though Melissa herself seems to know every single member personally and everybody LOVES her.

I think she can play anything. You give her a difficult role and boy! Will she go to town with it. Like she did last year with “Frozen River,” last year’s “Winter’s Bone”, a teeny tiny Indie directed by a woman about a woman (last year Leo, this year Jennifer Lawrence) who stands up to injustice and protects her brood at all costs in a rural setting.

Oscar goddess Sasha Stone’s unremitting advocating for Melissa Leo’s out-of-left field nomination for Best Actress actually contributed to making that nomination happen, IMHO.

She’s doing the same kind of tub-thumping this year for Jennifer Lawrence, who I can’t get behind, and whose nomination, I think, is shakier than people realize she is. And Melissa Leo is becoming a kind of feminist heroine.

She’s the older actress who has mucho chops, who is still fighting her way BACK to the Oscars, now two years in a row, it seems. Melissa Leo is an actress’ actress. She kinda sorta eschews glamour, like wearing her “old tux” to the BFCA awards when she won. And then an OK gown, that was so unremarkable her picture in it appeared NOWHERE in the MANY pictures of the Golden Globe’s red carpet, and the bejeweled, be-gowned actresses upon them. And where was Melissa? Nowhere to be found. And she won! And Natalie Portman the other big winner was EVERYwhere!

The Academy looks at that and sniffs, “Well, she’s not a star.” And she isn’t. The public doesn’t know her like those in the business do. Melissa who? But she’s a constantly working, supremely talented ACTRESS. Did you recognize her THIS year in another Oscar baity film “Convinction” as the evil policewoman who wrecks Sam Rockwell’s life? YES, that dried-up, prune-faced, lying cop was Melissa Leo, too!

All of these things should ad up to Melissa Leo winning a Supporting Actress Oscar, since she’s the type of actress this category and these awards were created for in the first place…but…she was SNUBBED by BAFTA!

But the thing about BAFTA is for the first time this year, people are noticing that we have a voting body that actually OVERLAPS the American Academy it is said to the tune of 1000 members out of 6000 AMPAS voters. And each year the Academy(and the press AND the blogosphere) is paying more attention than ever. It just keeps growing and growing . In coverage. In importance. And the more coverage the BAFTAs get, the more important. And influential, they become.

So who would be the BAFTA front-runner in that tumultous BSA category? I think it’s Helen Bonham-Carter as the slam-dunk.

My esteemed colleague David Karger at Entertainment Weekly takes this Oscar business VERY seriously. I always had the ultimate respect for his opinions, insights and conclusions. And Dave, like me, is still staunchly insisting that “The King’s Speech” is the front-runner to win Best Picture, and this avalanche of BAFTA nominations seem to prove us right.

ALLLL That Typing Movie’s awards were from the press. Who, let’s face it, spend all day typing.

BAFTA is the first time we’ve heard from a large group of industry professionals. And attention must by paid.

As I said earlier today at www.Awardsdaily.com , in the section of Comments on The BAFTAS!

I think where the BAFTAS have the most impact (on Oscar) is where there is a very close race, like this year’s Supporting Actress and certainly Best Picture.

When the BAFTAS finally do their thing, and announce their winners, it’s timed astutely to be RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE OSCAR VOTING PERIOD.

Personally, I think most Academy Members who are actually voting, mail their ballots (by Snail Mail, yes, that’s how they do it) immediately that they receive them.

But sometimes the BAFTAS have an impact in recent years that sways Oscar’s contests…like for instance, when it was Mickey Rourke v. Sean Penn a couple of years back for ANOTHER Pugilistic Movie “The Wrestler” v.Sean Penn’s assassinated Gay Rights leader Harvey Milk in “Milk.”

Actually, Rourke WON the BAFTA, then got up and made a truly embarassing acceptance speech dropping the F-bomb so may times on the stunned Limeys, it seemed like the Blitz was back on.

And I knew, I just knew, if there was any doubt in any Academy voters mind who STILL hadn’t mailed in their ballots, Rourke just lost it big time there. With that speech and the Academy was NOT going to let itself be embarassed by awarding him in the same way. The Snob Effect. See.

So Sean Penn won and he should’ve for his great portrayal of a complicated, but sweet crusader…who died SUCH a tragic death.

I could go on.

And I will.

Also, take the instance of Marion Cotillard’s surprise win at the Oscars the year before that. She trounced Brit legend Julie Christie in the politically correct Alzheimer’s movie “Away From Her.”

How did THAT happen? Marion a UNKNOWN foreign actress acting in her own language (French) WON for playing Edith Piaf, gave a beautiful, totally shocked, moving acceptance speech at the BAFTAs for “La Vie En Rose” and then WON at the Oscars.

It also didn’t hurt that night that at the BAFTAS that Best Actor winner Daniel Day Lewis said in HIS acceptance speech that “Marion Cotillard is acting on a different level than all of us.” And I think that sealed Marion’s deal.

Marion also MOVED to L.A. during this crucial voting period and went to EVERY Hollywood party and charmed and enchanted all her met her, as did my other unknown(at the time) actress friend Marcia Gay Harden, who appeared out of nowhere to be nominated with no precursor awards. In 2000. But “The Stephen Holt Show” had her.

And SHE won. Best Supporting Actress for “Pollock”.

So who could surprise? Who could win THIS year? Well, it looks like it’s Natalie Portman, an American princess to be sure for “Black Swan.” BAFTA, yes, has nominated her for Best Actress.

But wait! Who else popped out of nowhere at BAFTA?!? NOOOOOMI RAPACE!??

And “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” the last of the Steig Larsson Millenium Trilogy, picked up three nominations at BAFTA including Noomi’s Best Actress.

And wait, she’s foreign. But hardly unknown in London, where she has moved to escape the paparazzi-fest  that her incredible portrait of  Lisbeth Salander turned  her life into in her native Sweden.

She’s embraced London and British society totally. And they her. And I just have this feeling that the Brits feel this immense sense of injustice being done to Noomi, who endured A YEAR AND A HALF of CONSTANT filming of the three Larsson movies, all shot one right after the other after the other, since Noomi has been replaced by an unknown American girl Rooney Mara. And that these beloved, hugely successful movies are being now remade IN ENGLISH by David Fincher….He who directed The Typing Movie…

Well, it wouldn’t surprise me to hear Noomi Rapace’s name called on BAFTA night.

And how will that impact the Oscar race for Best Actress? Well, if she’s not nominated, not a bit.

But I think people in England are enraged by these remakes by the presumptous Americans who have the NERVE to redo those beautiful Swedish movies! And watch they give their best director to home town boy Tom Hooper for “The King’s Speech.” NOT to David Fincher, who has the temerity to remake these Larsson/Salander movies! The NERVE of him!

 This would really set those Yankees back a few steps, if it was then to be recorded by all the journos in the world press, who are bound to write about these great Swedish films V. the trashy American re-makes. Well, the Swedish movies starred the BAFTA AWARD WINNING BEST ACTRESS NOOMI RAPACE. Then every time someone wrote about these new American versions,they’d HAVE to mention BAFTA. Not that Noomi could upset Natalie in the U.S. ,but in Britain she certainly could.

And Noomi would give a beautiful, charming,moving acceptance speech. You know she would.

And also, now that I think of it Noomi’s Lisbeth GETS A GUNSHOT WOUND TO THE BRAIN AT POINT BLANK RANGE !!! AND SURVIVES!!! There’s also that political parallel to be raised…so I’m raising it. Gaby Giffords is a heroine, but so is Lisbeth. Especially to Europeans. She’s a fictional character, but who can forget her first entrance in “Hornet’s Nest” where they are cutting open her skull, and are showing REMOVING A BULLET from her brain! And she SURVIVES!

And oh, Melissa Leo…back to her…

What has the BAFTA done to HER Oscar race? Well, I think it’s stopped it dead in its’ tracks, I’m sorry to say.

I think she and co-star Amy Adams will BOTH be nominated and cancel each other out and Helena Bonham-Carter will sweep in and win as she certainly will the BAFTAS for “The King’s Speech.”

However, what does Dave Karger think this does? Check out his updated lists at www.ew.com

But I’ll tell you who Dave has picked to win Best Supporting Actress now. AMY ADAMS!?!?

It could happen. She’s been nominated twice before. They know her. They love her. And she’s still young and beautiful and she’s wonderful in “The Fighter” too. Playing something she’s never played before. A tough, working class chick, a bartender no less.

So THAT’S what the BAFTAs have done with their snubbing of Melissa Leo, they’ve HELPED Amy Adams BIG TIME!

“King’s Speech” Breaking Box-Office records!

I’m oh so happy to report that the brilliant, moving, unforgettable “King’s Speech” is breaking box-office records this holiday weekend in VERY limited release. Check out just how much, where et alia at www.indiewire.com The inimitable Scott Feinberg also talks about this and many other fabulous things at www.ScottFeinberg.com

He used to call it com.www.And the Winners Is…com

And he’s got an actual Academy member to write about everything Awardsworthy under the name of Deep Voice. It’s a member of the Writer’s Branch and is he cantakerous! But interesting. He thinks for example that “The Kids Are All Right” has got no nominations in its’ future, just Mark Ruffalo!(?!) And I agree that “The Social Network” doesn’t “make you care. It doesn’t move me.” But that nevertheless he’d nominate Justin Timberlake as Best Supporting Actor. That’s TWO nominations in that category, gone, from this guy, who can’t even vote for the Actors UNTIL they are nominated by the Actor’s Branch, come nomination announcing day. He can however nominate WRITERS in the two categories that the Academy has, Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay. EVERYone in all the Branches gets to nominate the Ten Best Pictures… but I digress…

Also this the coming Awards Avalanche week. Tomorrow night is the Gothams, where, probably “A Winter’s Bone” is going to clean up, and then later this week, on Thursday, the National Board of Review is set to announce its’ winners.

Update: It did. It got Best Feature and Best Ensemble, but no Jennifer Lawrence as Breakout Performer, which she was nominated for, but didn’t win. Does this help the film get into the Year’s Ten Best at the Oscars? Hmmm..(Sound of Oscar…thinking…) Hmmm….

The National Board of Review are a New York-based awards-giving group that has a LARGE portion of females in their membership, a rarity in this male-dominated business, believe it or not, and also many, many gay members. More so than most groups.

And judging by that, I’d say “The King’s Speech” is going to sweep. It’ll get Best Picture from them, and Colin Firth will win the first, but not the last of his many, many, much deserved awards that are going to be coming at him like, well, gangbusters. Mixed metaphor? But hey that’s what I do!

Helena Bonham-Carter should also score here where they consider a year’s work not just one performance like the Academy. So HBC should qualify for not just her shy, sly Queen Elizabeth in “The King’s Speech”, but also her mad Red Queen in “Alice in Wonderful” and her 15 min.(or less) turn as Bellatrix La Strange, the witchiest witch who witch there was more of in the latest “Harry Potter.” Now playing…

Best Supporting Actor…I think they are also going to go for Geoffrey Rush, here. And maybe also for Best Director, Tom Hooper. If they go for Hooper over David Fincher(who’s shooting the Milennium Trilogy in Sweden, and may not get back for the ceremonies in Jan. You wouldn’t think this would count against him, but the NBR wants all its’ winners present and accounted for. Yes, they do.)

Best Actress may very well be Natalie Portman, starting her awards march. She, along with Firth, well, the two of them are going to be seeing A LOT of each other as the awards season rolls out like a juggernaut over all our Oscar-filled lives…

Breakthrough Performance by an Actor could be the only award that “The Social Network” wins….Will they give it to New York native Jesse Irritatingberg? They like Native New Yorkers. So that’s what Natalie Portman, from Long Island, has going for her, too.

Or it could be someone else from “The Social Network” Even Justin Timberlake could score here.

I’d be very surprised if Jennifer Lawrence (who totally doesn’t deserve it) will find her week bracketed by awards. First from the Gothams on Monday as Best Breakthrough then by the NBR later this week. She’s got that blonde teenage mojo working…Whether I like it or not…And I don’t…

Update: She didn’t win the BreakOut/Breakthrough category tonight at the Gothams…and with all this hype, she certainly SHOULD have…but the NBR may fall for it…

Best Adapted Screenplay would be the first Aaron Sorkin win and start his line dance to the Podium at the Kodak.

And now they’ve just announced that Anne Hathaway and James Franco are gonna c0-host the Oscars!?!?! Sounds like a big mistake. Also this may eliminate BOTH of them from the race.

Personally, I LOVED “Love and Other Drugs” but it’s a zesty, sexy Rom Com, with a dash of Parksinson’s Disease thrown in…as an Oscar grabber… for Annie, which I don’t think it’s going to be. Rom Com’s almost NEVER rank with the Academy, especially in this crowded year for females!

And can Annie and Jimmy pull off hosting duties? I’m of the mind that yes, SHE can. Annie can do anything. Great inner resources as a performer. Comes from growing up with Mom as a actress and a gay brother. Talk about Drama!

But James is soooo laid back…I keep thinking of him in “Pineapple Express…

My Noomi Rapace TV interview now up on You Tube! Link ~

Dear Readers, Dear Cineastes, Dear Stieg-heads(That’s the phrase I’m told to denote Stieg Larsson fans!)

The 11 minutes of heaven I experienced with the lovely and talented Swedish actress Noomi Rapace is now up on YouTube on my You Tube channel in the mainframe.

www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

I called it “Oscar Seeker Noomi Rapace “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” Stephen Holt Show” if you’re searching for it through tags.

I sure hope the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences doesn’t forget Noomi Rapace’s overwhelming, astounding acting achievement this year when they go to mark their ballots for Best Actress!

I was so delighted to meet her and to talk with her about her childhood in Iceland, of all things! NObody had ever asked her about that before! And she does speak a little bit in Icelandic, as do I.

And the low hotel suite sitting situation really allowed her to show off her shapely legs AND THOSE SHOES!?!

And the same day, this afternoon, I was just sent “The Girl Who Played With Fire” Lisbeth Salander #2, and I’ve started reading it and once again I can’t put it down!

I FINALLY meet NOOMI!*Swoon* Give that girl an Oscar Nomination!

Well, dear readers, dear cineastes and dear Stieg-0-philes, I FINALLY had my big interview with the legendary Swedish actress Noomi Rapace, who has the third and final film of the late Stieg Larson’s  ”Millennium Trilogy”, “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” which I liked A LOT, needless to say,opening this week. And she was here in New York to talk about it and to kick off her campaign for an Oscar for Best Actress. She’s Foreign. She’s new. But then so was Marion Cotillard. And look what happened to her! She talked to me and against all odds, she won! And that video is still up and getting over 200,000 hits on YouTube! 

So a Golden Globe nomination from the Hollywood FOREIGN press, I do think she’s already got in the bag, and this year the category of Best Actress is JAMMED to the gills. And the Golden Globes have a bit more lee-way having ten slots. Five for Best Actress, Drama and Five, for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical.

 Whereas the Oscars of course have only five Best Actress slots. She has a lot of competition this year, whereas Marion didn’t, but if ID-PR and UTA get her out there and talking, so charmingly, so wistfully, as she did with me today. Then VOILA! Noomi might get in!

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know how much I’ve been posting about these books and movies and Noomi. I mean, for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been obsessed!

And Nooooomi, which is actually pronounced like that, Like “Nuumi” a long “U” sound and her last name is pronounced like “Replace” but it’s Rapace. I knew I was never going to get the correct pronunciation until I met her today, and what a moment that was!

She floated into the swanky (always) New York City hotel room where we were to film the interview for my Cable Television Show and my YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow with such grace and glamour and delicacy, every inch a great European film star.

 And how she managed to float on high heels as tall as the Empire State building, I do not know.

She is very beautiful in person. And indeed her beauty and charm were her major obstacles in over-coming the film director’s reservations in casting her in the first place as Lisbeth Salander, the most famous female character ever to emerge from a work of fiction, a novel (or series of novels) since Scarlett O’Hara.

I am beginning to think that the three novels are really one BIG novel an epic, in Iceland they’d call it a Saga, like “Gone With the Wind”. It’s a Swedish “War and Peace.”

I’ve read the first novel in a serious (ra)pace this weekend, then saw the first film last night, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” Phew! 

I haven’t read #2, “The Girl Who Played With Fire,” but  I saw the third film “The Girl Who Kicked Over the Hornet’s Nest” first a couple of weeks back, as I told you in this blog. And I couldn’t believe the impact it had on me! I felt like I’d had my head blown off ,and I knew I was in the presence of a great screen actress giving a legendary, incomparable performance.

And I’ve been trying to catch up ever since. It’s a VERY complicated story and you really do need to read all three books. (Which I still haven’t) to get the full effect.

Disguised as a crime novel, it really is the late Stieg Larson’s social chronicle of life in Sweden today. It’s an indictment, really. And it isn’t pretty.

Though in the movies the city of Stockholm and the surrounding countryside and many islands all look sumptuous. Stockholm has never looked more beautiful. And at times, it’s so romantically photographed in these films you wonder why its’ beauty hasn’t been used more often as a great, cinematic location.

So last night, also in preparation of this interview, which I was strangely, atypically very nervous about, I watched every single solitary interview Noomi Rapace has done so far in English on YouTube, and there aren’t that many. So far. Just wait….

And of course, everybody asks the same questions of her, and I wasn’t going to do that.

I was determined to ask her things that nobody ever interviewed her about. I wanted to bring out another side of her.

And I knew how to do that. To talk about ICELAND! Where she spent part of her childhood and where she started her film career in Hrafn Gunlagsson’s “In the Shadow of the Raven” as a little child.

Hrafn which is pronounced “Rafe” like Fiennes, is the Icelandic word for Raven, and Gunlaugsson has the reputation of being the most difficult director in Iceland. I know because I was fortunate to have traveled to Iceland twice. Once in December of 1999 for a series of “Christmas in Iceland” shows I did, and once again the following summer of 2000 when the sun is up all day long, for a series of shows(nine episodes!) on film and theatre in Iceland.

So when Noomi realized I just wanted to talk about how beautiful she was, and different from Lisbeth Salander she is, and how talented she was, and how wonderful a place Iceland is to have spent (at least part of) her childhood in, she just melted.

She loves shoes, especially expensive designer shoes, and she was wearing black(her favorite color) sky-high stilletto heels, and I got her to put her feet with the shoes on them on to the low coffee table in front of us and I held her ankle. Turning it for the camera to see in its full effect.

I don’t think I’ve ever held a woman’s ankle before. I’m gay. When would that situation arise? Anyway, she just loved that I got her to show off her VERY shapely Scandinavian cinema goddess legs. She was wearing a skin-tight, black mini- sweater-dress,and her hair is brown, a dark brown, but not black. And when we sat down on these very LOW cushioned chairs in the hotel suite, her dress went up so high, I could barely see it anymore!

This video is going to get A LOT of hits on YouTube!

And she was so delighted to not have the SAME questions asked that everybody else has asked her over and over and over again about Lisbeth Salander.

The magic word was ICELAND!

And I got her to speak Icelandic! I got her to say “I Love You” in Icelandic, and I repeated it to her.

It was a rapturous moment…

I can’t wait to see the video! And you can’t miss it either. But it won’t be up on YouTube for at least a week or so… But when it is it’ll be here www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

I brought out her sweet side. SOOOOO different from Lisbeth Salander. Which I feel is one of the great, legendary screen performances by an actress.

I really hope,and WANT Noomi to get an Oscar nomination for Best Actress this year, and so does her publicist, of course.

Those three performances in three films, put together and filmed right after each other is an overwhelming achievement. One of the greatest acting feats ever by a woman, I feel, and so do many critics.

I was so excited and thrilled to meet her, I hope I told Noomi all this. But not as succinctly as I’m expressing it now.

What a lovely lady!

And I just HATE David Fincher more and more for not using her in the American adaptation that he is filming now with Rooney Mara.

Noomi was devastated by this.

In one interview, in English on YouTube,she blurted out “They didn’t want me!” And I just wanted to cry.

This tiny, brave, beautiful, young woman put every ounce of her heart and soul and intelligence and TALENT into these three UNFORGETTABLE performances.

And then to be ignored by the Americans!?!…

David Fincher…you made one film already this year that I hated, as you all know, “The Social Network,” and YOUR version of these fantastic books had better be BETTER than the beautiful Swedish versions!!!

I HATED “Benjamin Button,” “The Fight Club” and “The Social Network” and I did like “Zodiac” and “Se7en” which are both about serial killers, a crime genre at which he really does excel. And of course, the Stieg Larson trilogy IS, partially about a serial killer, at least the first book.

But poor Noomi! She’s doing all right though, and seemed to be enjoying the hell out of her New York press day!

And all I can say is ” I LOVE YOU, NOOMI!” I’d say it again in Icelandic, if I could remember it, and GIVE THAT GIRL AN OSCAR NOMINATION!?!?!?

Just finished”The Girl With the Snake Tattoo”

It looks like a lovely fall day outside in New York…Ah, Autumn in New York…Supposedly the best season…When I was living in London, I always used to fly back to New York in Sept./Oct, missing the heat and humidity of the summers and leaving before the blistering cold of the winters…

Just finished reading “The Girl With the Snake Tattoo”! Phew! My first complete Steig Larson novel experience, and yes, it’s a terrific read. “Unput-downable” as  a colleague  of the late Larson says in the upcoming FOURTH volume. And it certainly is…

So tragic that this brilliant writer is dead. He could’ve gone on and on giving us more Lisbeth Salander/Mikael Bloomkvist thrillers…but at least we have the three he lived to complete…

According to a mention in the upcoming FOURTH volume, which is a collection of articles about him and essays AND HIS EMAILS! That there was an uncompleted three-quarters of a FOURTH volume and an outline for a fifth in his computer…when he died of heart attack at 50. And the tragedy of his early death just overwhelms me…He never lived to see this all happen. So sad…And the emails between him and his editor Eva Gedin are frustratingly few and brief and end sooo abruptly…He sounded like he was working himself to death before these books came out…

Why is this all so gripping?

Well, Lisbeth Salander is just this GRRRRRRREAT literary creation and her outrageous, rage-filled character is dropped right into the middle of a VERY traditional formula= the crime or suspense novel.  Or for mystery fiction  She’s a great detective. Which is what this really is and why this really works so well. It’s a whodunnit in the great Agatha Christie style. Miss Marple is now a punk rock hacker.

the eccentric,brilliant bisexual biker/hacker, Lisbeth, with her nose and eyebrow piercings and her spiky hair, COULDN’T be more unique in this type of genre. Or any genre really. She just JUMPS off the page at you and GRABS your attention and holds it for the duration. Just as the equally brilliant and intense Swedish/Icelandic/Spanish actress Noomi Rapace does in the movies.

And she’s balanced by her Sherlock Holmes, the banal, middle-aged investigative reporter Mikael Bloomkvist, who is the stolid, plodding alter ego of the late Larson himself, I’m guessing.

 So the audience has HIM to identify with, if they can’t wrap their heads around the quirky, surly Lisbeth, whose personality is as spiky as her hair-do. She’s a punk Dr. Watson, who keeps stealing the stage from Mikael Bloomkvist, her unlikely partner-in-crime solving…

Having seen the THIRD movie FIRST(I do everything backwards) this is beginning to make much more sense.

There’s a vast cast of supporting players and that did confuse me for a bit in the “Hornet’s Nest” movie. I didn’t “get” Bloomkvist and his relationship with his ex-wife, his teen-aged daughter and also the married co-publisher of the magazine he writes for who is named Erika Berger, who he has this very Scandinavian on-again, off-again sexual relationship with.

In the movie, she’s played by the great Bergmann actress Lena Anders, and I thought it odd that she took such a supporting role, but now I see why. She’s a major character in “Snake Tattoo” and obviously  continues that way through all the films and all the books. So it’s the middle one that I still have to try to finish before I interview Noomi Rapace on Wed.

But I’m doing  my homework!

And being gripped by “Snake” which is in the end quite quite sick and shocking….I just COULDN’T STOP reading it!

Well, Steig Larson was re-inventing and expanding a very tried and true formula, the  detective murder mystery and putting a very mod, Swedish gloss on it. And Sweden itself is a delightful, major character here. In the third movie “Hornet’s Nest”, Stockholm looks like an amazingly new, refreshing romantic locale, and nothing at all the like Stockholm of Ingmar Bergmann’s movies. It’s like some place we’ve never seen before. It’s enchanting…and also frightening.

Mikael Bloomkvist, when we first met, in the first several chapters, is actually quite boring. I almost didn’t make it any further – then BLAM! Lisbeth Salander enters the scene and she just TAKES over the book, as she does the movie, in her intense, fascinating way.

So I look forward to reading Book 2 “The Girl Who Played with Fire” and to interviewing Noomi Rapace herself on Wed.! I’m having a Stieg Larson week, for sure! It’s like a trip to today’s Sweden, and I can’t wait to go back!

Upcoming! Me & Noomi! And a FOURTH volume of Steig for Xmas!

Newsflash! I’m going to be interviewing the great Swedish actress Noomi Rapace(still don’t know how to pronounce her name, but on Wed. I’ll find out!) who has played the ASTOUNDING, maybe the most ASTOUNDING and original female character, well, perhaps EVAH in the noir genre. She’s captured world-wide attention in the three Steig Larson crime novels, “The Girl With the Snake Tattoo”, “The Girl who Played with Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.” A.K.A. The Millenial Trilogy.

And as you know, dear readers, dear cineastes, I just saw the “Hornet’s Nest” movie a few weeks ago and was TOTALLY blown away by it! It was my first Lisbeth Salander/Noomi Rapace/Steig Larson encounter, and it’s not going to be my last!

I now am starting at the beginning of the Trilogy with the first book and am totally gripped by it. Lisbeth and the Swedish setting are all so new for a Whodunit, which the first book is turning out to be…In this volume, she’s sort of a sullen coffee girl at a Private Investigator’s office, who quickly works her way up to a Private Eye herself. From seeing the third movie FIRST, who knew? In the third movie, she’s a criminal herself! So it starts with her in a hospital recovering from gunshot wounds to the head and abdomen…How she got from here to there is quite the thrillerdillerchiller ~It’s now becoming clearer and just who and what her relationship is with this writer Mikael and his magazine that she gets herself involved with is!…You do need to read all three books to get the depths and the layers of the plots and the characters he’s laying out…

Starting at the end, I was indeed very confused by the back story, and it really is an epic . A Nordic saga. Sort of a Swedish War and Peace. And there’s plenty more characters that need explication, like for instance the ubiquitous co-lead Michael Blomkvist, who is going to be played in the movie by the great Daniel Craig, and he really is a terrific actor, when challenged -that David Fincher is now currently shooting with Craig and Rooney Mara (“The Social Network”s only woman to make an impact, and she’s TERRIFIC in it!) So Fincher and Rooney are going at it again and how good will these American films be? 

Well, she’s very talented and intense and Fincher’s great with creeped-out atmopherics(“Zodiac”, “Se7en”) but how good will the script be is my question? It always comes down to that.

But at any rate, you will have the REAL Swedish DEAL to relish very, very soon “With the Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” AND!

Coming out in time for Christmas, Knopf is issuing a FOURTH volume!

YES! A boxed set containing Essays and Memories and his EMAILS (yes, it’s come to that, friends) with his publishers…Plus the three hardcover novels! What a Christmas present! I’m already reading the manuscript of that fourth volume now. And it’s necessary. Essential reading.

And his untimely death JUST before the books began to be published is one of the most tragic backstories in recent literary history…And makes the whole series even more eerie, scary, disturbing, poignant…As Lisbeth Salander herself is…

More soon on this ongoing literary phenomenon! And why are they re-making it soooo quickly as an American version? Simple answer. It’s a license to print money….

And he never lived to see any of it…It IS a Swedish War and Peace! And fulfills that crazy unsatiated craving for a dark Swedish delight to that left us when Ingmar Bergman died…And now Steig Larson is gone, too! But Lizbeth Salander LIVES!

And could Noomi Rapace be nominated for a Best Actress in a very crowded field. I say, GO FOR IT NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMI!

Update! Up til 2 in the morning, not able to put “The Girl with the Snake Tattoo” down! And still trying to figure out how to work with Brave New World called WordPress! The trackback “Noomi Rapace’s Blog” excellent little bio and pic! And my goodness gracious, does she look differnt in the picture!

And she’s worked with R. Gunlaugsson, who is supposed to be one of the most difficult directors in Icelandic film! I know! Cuz I was there doing my show TWICE in the winter of ’99 for Christmas, then again the following June of 2000! Loved it there! So this makes her the most famous female to come out of Iceland since Byork!

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