07:45 PM EDT 08/23/2014
Originally posted 11/07/2010 08:00PM
When Noomi Rapace won the role of the gutsy Lisbeth Salander in Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo films, she knew it would change her life. But not quite the way she expected.
"I thought everyone would hate me!" says Rapace, 30, who transformed herself into an androgynous, punky, chain-smoking computer hacker for the three Swedish movies. "The readers of the books have such a strong relationship with her as a character, I thought they'd never accept what I did with Lisbeth. It felt like a suicide mission to accept the role."
To prepare, Rapace trained kick-boxing four times a week for seven months, dieted, got a motorcycle license, cut her hair and pierced herself a total of six times.
Her 7-year-old son – with Swedish actor Ola Rapace – was at first hesitant about his mom's new look. "For the first movie, he asked me, 'Mom, why do you want to look like a teenage boy?'" she says. "For the last movie, I shaved my head on both sides like a Mohawk. I brought him with me when I did it, because I didn't want to come home and look like Edward Scissorhands and scare him! He sat there and looked at me and said, 'Mom, why are you doing this?' After a while, he said, 'I think it looks good! I want a hairdo like that, too!' That's when I said, 'Stop!'"
Originally posted 12/25/2009 10:30AM
This year, Christmas offers some starry gifts for moviegoers – an array of movies in all genres. But which flick will you be lining up for?
Originally posted 11/05/2009 05:20PM
Top 10 News Categories
The most buzzed about stars this minute!
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
More On PEOPLE.com
Got a News Tip?
Send it to our People.com editors!