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Career > > 2017 > Unlocked


May 05, 2017 | di Bonaventura Pictures | 90 minutes
Directed by: Michael Apted | Written by: Peter O'Brien | Cinematography: George Richmond | Editing: Andrew MacRitchie | Costume Design: Bojana Nikitovic | Production Design: Ondrej Nekvasil | Music: Stephen Barton
Once one of the best interrogators in the CIA, Alice Racine (Noomi Rapace) now lives a quiet life in London. During her last assignment, Alice failed to unlock a prisoner in time to save the lives of several people, prompting her to leave the field and become a caseworker instead. But when the CIA apprehends a suspect who is believed to have direct knowledge of an imminent terrorist attack, Alice is called in unexpectedly. Quickly realizing she has been set-up, she narrowly escapes, and finds herself on the run.
Cast: Noomi Rapace (Alice Racine), Orlando Bloom (Jack Alcott), Toni Collette (Emily Knowles), Michael Douglas (Eric Lasch), John Malkovich (Bob Hunter), Akshay Kumar (Salim), Adelayo Adedayo (Noma), Tosin Cole (Amjad), Jessica Boone (Romley's Assistant), Aymen Hamdouchi (Lateef el hajjam), Brian Caspe (Ed Romley), Philip Brodie (Wilson)

Production Notes

After playing “the girl” to Tom Hardy’s leading men in both “The Drop” and “Child 44”, Noomi Rapace landed a role that was more familiar terrain to her previous successes – a strong, kick-ass woman, in this case a former CIA interrogator. In Peter O’Brien’s script, her character Alice Racine is lured back into action when London is put in danger of a biological attack. Racine is working as a social worker in the capital after failing to contain a terrorist attack in Paris five years earlier where she couldn’t unlock a prisoner before he devastated the city. When Rapace joined the project in mid-2016, fellow Swede Mikael Håfström was attached to direct, but he left the project. Famed British director Michael Apted took over, having experience with both the action genre – helming the James Bond vehicle “The World is Not Enough” and strong women characters – directing Sissy Spacek in “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and Sigourney Weaver in “Gorillas in the Mist”. With Apted, a slew of Hollywood names joined the cast as well, including John Malkovich as a CIA Chief, Toni Collette as the Head of MI5 and Michael Douglas as Racine’s mentor. Orlando Bloom was cast as her mysterious sidekick.

“Unlocked” began filming in late 2014 with Prague as a stand-in for London – for budgetary reasons, according to Michael Apted: “We couldn’t afford to shoot in London for more than a few days. We had to shoot it in Prague. But I got a very bright, young Czech production designer who spoke good English, and he said to me, “Look, if you choose your key locations in London, don’t make them historical, because I can’t match those. Make them modern, because I can do modern. There are parts of Prague that look like London.” Apted was content with Rapace, who was already in training for the part when he joined the project. “I felt that if this was going to work, whoever played it would have to be able to do some of the action stuff. You couldn’t have some wonderful actress who you knew instinctively couldn’t knock some bloke on the head. But she can do that. I thought that was a great gift. If we hadn’t had her, I can’t think… there’s only a handful of actresses who I’ve seen be remotely convincing. Not that she did it all – we had to stop her, because she enjoyed doing it. I just needed the sense that she could deliver as that character – that she was strong and courageous and somewhat foolish. That was a crucial ingredient, and that was already a given. If she hadn’t been attached, I think it would’ve been much tougher.

Apted also credits bringing Toni Collette on board, with a part originally written for a man. “I liked Toni Collette, because she was originally written as a man. I wanted another woman in the film who could offer comfort to Noomi’s character. So it wasn’t an all-male thing – to have a woman in a position of power. So I delivered Orlando, and the producers delivered Michael [Douglas] and Malkovich. Noomi was there, so that was pretty much it. That’s how it happened. You know, it was very hard on Noomi, because they were never all together at once, and she had to do a solid week with Orlando, and then Malkovich would come in, and she’d have to do her bits in chunks.”

Filming of “Unlocked” wrapped in January 2015 in London, and it took more than two years to get a theatrical release for the film. When it released British theaters on May 05, 2017, critics were favorable on Rapace and critical on the story (and every word that Orlando Bloom uttered in his character’s accent). Variety acknowledged Rapace’s performance, writing that “the original girl with the dragon tattoo is still proving her mettle for the part in far lesser vehicles like “Unlocked” – an anonymously enjoyable espionage thriller that, for purposes of memory, all but self-destructs the second the closing credits begin to roll.”

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