Rapace plays Johanna "Jo" Ericsson of the European Space Agency in Constellation

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The first season of Constellation is now streaming on Apple TV+

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April 25, 2024
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Noomi Rapace on Constellation's Shocking First Season (Exclusive)

The star of the new sci-fi thriller from Apple TV+ takes us behind the scenes.

SPOILER WARNING: This article discusses key events and plot twists for Constellation.

While Noomi Rapace is no stranger to science fiction, given her starring role in Prometheus, Ridley Scott's 2012 Alien prequel, the actor boldly went into new genre territory with her new series, Constellation.

As the lead in the Apple TV+ sci-fi drama, Rapace plays Johanna "Jo" Ericsson, a Swedish astronaut who survives a disaster at the International Space Station but suffers some mind-bending complications in its aftermath. Once Jo returns to Earth, she discovers that key pieces of her life are missing, and she struggles to get them back while racing to uncover who stole them from her and why. Jo quickly realizes that alternate universes are at play, and she must figure out which reality is the one she calls home.

With Constellation recently wrapping up its first season, Rapace spoke with the Television Academy about the challenges of playing two versions of the same character and why Jo stuck with her long after the cameras stopped rolling.

(WARNING: Spoilers for Season One are ahead!)

What attracted you to be a part of this series?

Noomi Rapace: I came home from a long shoot, and I was going to take a break. My team called me and said, "We have a project that we think you will love." I was like, "I don't want to read anything. My head is too full. I need to recover." But they sent me the scripts anyway. I started reading a few pages, and it just pulled me in: Exploring motherhood and the complexity of being a parent and loving your child, but loving your profession in this most extreme form of being up in space and having your child down on earth. I think the friction between those two [scenarios] that I'm struggling with myself made it kind of a no-brainer. I fell in love with Jo and her struggles.

How much did you know about Jo's "duality"?

I kind of knew the [character's] journey, but I kept asking questions about the two realities and the two different versions of Jo that we meet. I'm mainly Jo "A" caught in the body of Jo "B" and living her life. I had to prepare for every scene in different ways, asking myself, "What do I know? Have I been here before? It looks like my life, but it's not. It looks like my child, but it's not." So, to really kind of make it super simple for myself, I had to keep a logbook of the knowledge that Jo would have for the Jo I was in. It was kind of operating on two brains at the same time. Jo "A" is way more sensitive, gentle and loving and funny and easy, but I think Jo "B" is much tougher and harder, with a more brutal approach.

That kind of prep sounds really stressful.

[Laughs] Yeah, I mean, I was quite paranoid. I think halfway through I had a problem trusting people. I think that Jo really moved into me. I started having really weird dreams and was pulled into this rabbit hole doing this show.

Have any other characters you've played stuck with you like Jo did?

Definitely. I've had three characters that moved in and never really moved out. Lisbeth Salander from Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Maria from Lamb and Jo. One lost soul caught in aggressions and sadness, Lisbeth and then two mothers — one who is a mother to a lamb baby, and the other is someone caught in another reality without her child. Acting is a vehicle, and in my life, I try to be the driver. But sometimes I feel like the characters are in the driver's seat. I'm just a passenger, in for the ride, and I just need to let them guide me more than me being in charge. I had memories and dreams that I wasn't sure if they were mine or Jo's. My psyche, my brain, my body — they all kind of merged into her. I took a year off after I finished Constellation. When I was younger, when I finished with Lisbeth, I thought, "I need to find my way back to myself."

Considering the final shot of the season finale, what is your take on Jo and where the show leaves both versions of her?

Jo "A" is living in the body of Jo "B," and she is pregnant with a child of two worlds. The father is Magnus "B." So, what is the child? What reality does the child belong to? And Jo "B," who is up there in space, she is not dead — and she should have been carrying that child. I don't think the relationship between these two Jos is peaceful.

This also sounds really stressful!

[Laughs] Yeah, but it's a lot of fun to play.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Constellation is now streaming on Apple TV+.

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