Actors Noomi Rapace and Joel Kinnaman attended the same high school in Sweden before having breakout roles in a number of American productions, with the new film from director Yuval Adler The Secrets We Keep allowing them to finally collaborate with one another in a major way. Despite their friendship over the years, the new film puts them at odds with one another, as Rapace's character spends much of their screen time together interrogating Kinnaman's character, who is bound to a chair in nearly every scene. Not being able to utilize your body language might cause some challenges for performers, but Kinnaman noted that it made his experience feel all the more authentic.
"It put me in a place, emotionally, that I wasn't expecting it to put me in," Kinnaman shared with ComicBook.com about the experience. "It put me in a place of constant rage that I haven't experienced before in a film. So I was just furious day in and day out. And because also Yuval was adamant about the bondage of it, like, no one can question Yuval Adler's BDSM credentials. They are bonafide. He knows how to tie up a man. And I can clearly see in his eyes that he enjoys it."
He continued, "I was tied to the point where my arms would bleed and the gag in my mouth would cut in the corners of my lips. And then, because the bondage was so tight and so intricate, we couldn't untie me in between takes. So I would just sit there in between takes and I'd just be there for hours on end. And it just makes you feel really vulnerable and desperate, in a sense. And, of course I realized that this is good, I didn't have to search for any emotions like you have to do sometimes. It was all just there."
The film is described, "In post-WWII America, a woman (Rapace), rebuilding her life in the suburbs with her husband (Chris Messina), kidnaps her neighbor (Kinnaman) and seeks vengeance for the heinous war crimes she believes he committed against her."
The experience ended up being surprising for Rapace, who admitted she'd never quite seen that side of Kinnaman, regardless of their years of friendship.
"I feel like Joel, when he came in, I've never seen him exist in this place. I've never seen that desperation, that fear, and that anger in his eyes," the actress noted. "And the same with Chris Messina and Amy [Seimetz]. Like, it became this project where everyone explored their demons and the darkest places in themselves. And that became really special in a very brutal way."
Rapace also noted that, after coming across the original script from Lorenzo di Bonaventura, she collaborated with director Adler to heighten the intensity and give her a more personal connection to the character.
"There was something in the relationships, and in the core of it, that we both got and couldn't let go of, but it was not fully there," Rapace explained. "And then we went on this journey to find the third part that could bring out what we wanted to explore. And it took, maybe, I think it was two years later, I was shooting in New York and I met Yuval. And he just pointed out straight away what he thought was the weakness and the strength in the project. And I texted Joel and I was like, 'We have our director.'"
She continued, "And then me and Yuval, started this process of rewriting the script and moving away from everything we've seen before and making it way more personal. He was basically interviewing me. He was like, 'So, Noomi, what's the worst thing that could have happened to you when you were in this specific age?' And I said, 'If someone would have hurt my sister." We started building Maja's back story based on my nightmares. Every single piece in this movie was built from that place of a personal and deep desire to explore something and not looking away from where it hurts."
The Secrets We Keep is in select theaters now and lands on VOD on October 16th.
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