Pär Ola Rapace (Swedish: [²uːla raˈpasː]; né Norell; born 3 December 1971) is a Swedish actor.

Early life

Ola Rapace was born on 3 December 1971 in Tyresö, Stockholm County, Sweden as Pär Ola Norell. He grew up mainly in Vallentuna, a middle-class suburb of Stockholm. When he was 1 years old, his parents separated, and he was raised by his father. He grew up playing football and listening to heavy metal.

While studying philosophy at University of Montpellier, France, he discovered acting.


His first screen role was in Lukas Moodysson's film Together, a bittersweet comedy about hippie-socialist values set in a Stockholm homeshare commune. The film won several awards at international film festivals, including the Paris Film Festival Special Jury Prize, and Philadelphia Film Festival Jury Award. Rapace's big breakthrough came with the popular TV series Tusenbröder about a group handymen who get involved with organized crime. Immediately followed the role as Stefan Lindman in Wallander, which was based on Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander books.

He continued with several police and crime related TV-series, including portraying Daniel Nordström in the Danish police TV show Anna PihlCrimes of Passion, a crime drama set in 1950's rural Sweden, Farang about a Scandinavian ex-convict living in Thailand and Hassel, an updated dark and gritty cop show based on a classic series of books from the 70's and 80's. This was a cop show he also executive produced. While he has worked many cop shows, Rapace has been very critical of the genre. In 2012 he told Cafe Magazine: All the Wallander and Beck films are worthless. There is no credibility, it does not work to investigate thousands of murders in Ystad year after year. In the end it becomes a joke, and the quality becomes so low that one has no other option but to shut down the production. His first English-language film was the 2004 independent movie Rancid starring Matthew Settle (from Band of Brothers and Gossip Girl). A much bigger project was the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall, where he portrayed the hitman "Patrice".

In 2015 he moved to Paris, France and has since worked on Swedish, French and international projects. In 2016, he starred in the French science fiction film Ares and soon after followed Section Zéro, a French TV-series about a para-military police squad in the near future. Rapace had a supporting role as Major Gibson in Luc Besson's 2017 French/American big budget comic book/science fiction film Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. In 2018 Rapace will be the main antagonist in season 3 of Netflix/BBC's popular Viking drama The Last Kingdom as "Jarl Sigurd Bloodhair". When Below the Surface (Gidseltagningen), a Danish drama about 15 innocent people held hostage underground in a subway train, returns for a second season 2019, Rapace will join the cast as "Yusef".

Personal life

Rapace married actress Noomi Rapace in 2001, divorcing in 2011; they have a son, Lev, who was born in 2003. Together, they chose the surname Rapace after they were married, which means "bird of prey" in French and Italian. Rapace lived in France for several years and speaks fluent French.

For years Ola and Noomi were preyed upon by Swedish tabloids. Noomi's international career was taking off, and Ola, who was never afraid of an argument, were frequently featured in gossip magazines and tabloids. He has had several run-ins with the law, including spending the night in a jail in Austria . In October 2008, he was arrested for possession of cocaine and steroids, which resulted in a fine for a minor drug offense in April 2009.


  • Together (2000) - Lasse
  • Syndare i sommarsol (2001) - Fredrik
  • Hus i helvete (2002) - Pontus
  • Rancid (2004) - Bob
  • Tusenbröder - Återkomsten (2006) - Hoffa
  • Desmond & the Swamp Barbarian Trap (2006) - Elake Wille (voice)
  • Allt om min buske (2007) - Nils
  • Beyond (2010) - Johan
  • Jag saknar dig (2011) - George
  • Skyfall (2012) - Patrice
  • Mördaren ljuger inte ensam (2013) - Christer
  • I Am Yours (2013) - Jesper
  • Tommy (2014) - Bobby
  • Itsi Bitsi (2014)
  • Long Story Short (2015) - Sebastian
  • Glada hälsningar från Missångerträsk (2015) - Jocke
  • Carole Matthieu (2016) - Revel
  • Ares (2016) - Arès
  • Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017) - Major Gibson
  • White Trash (2017) - Sami
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