Home » Career » Filmography
Gallery | Videos | Press | News Feed

No Backstabbing. Just Business.

An erotic thriller in the tradition of “Dressed To Kill” and “Basic Instinct”, Brian de Palma’s PASSION tells the story of a deadly power struggle between two women in the dog-eat-dog world of international business. Christine possesses the natural elegance and casual ease associated with one who has a healthy relationship with money and power. Innocent, lovely and easily exploited, her admiring protégée Isabelle is full of cutting-edge ideas that Christine has no qualms about stealing. They’re on the same team, after all…

Christine takes pleasure in exercising control over the younger woman, leading her one step at a time ever deeper into a game of seduction and manipulation, dominance and humiliation. But when Isabelle falls into bed with one of Christine’s lovers, war breaks out. On the night of the murder, Isabelle is at the ballet, while Christine receives an invitation to seduction. From whom? Christine loves surprises. Naked she goes to meet the mystery lover waiting in her bedroom…


Rachel as: Christine
Other cast: Noomi Rapace, Karoline Herfurth, Paul Anderson
Alternative Title: n/a
Directed by: Brian de Palma
Written by: Brian De Palma, Natalie Carter & Alain Corneau (Love Crime)
Production Status: Waiting for theatrical release
World Premiere: September 7, 2012 during the Venice Film Festival
Theatrical Release: TBA 2013
Genre: Drama/Thriller/Mystery
Rated: not yet rated
Distributor: Entertainment One (US)
Run time: 100 min
Production budget: $30.000.000 (estimated)
Box office: n/a
Producers: Sylvie Barthet, Saïd Ben Saïd, Alfred Hürmer
Original Music by: Pino Donaggio
Cinematography by: José Luis Alcaine

Related Media

» View Production stills, posters & key-art, related screencaptures & more | » View trailers, movie clips, on-set interviews & more

Production Notes

Throughout a career that has spanned four decades and some of the most suspenseful and provocative films of contemporary cinema, Brian De Palma’s storytelling has been fueled, informed and inspired by the shifting fascinations of popular culture. In Carrie, based on the blockbuster Stephen King novel, he exposed the shocking horror beneath the allure of teen-aged angst and high-school drama. In Dressed To Kill he stripped the popular crime thriller down to its erotic core of sexual obsessions. With Scarface he flipped the American gangster movie into a moral fable of brutal excess in the name of ambition. In Mission: Impossible, he re-tooled the Cold War spy movie into a breathless exploration of paranoia via high-tech style.

Now, with his new film, Passion, De Palma puts his own twist on the latest incarnation of the thriller: the corporate thriller set against our 21st Century enthrallment with money, power, image and control. But this deadly corporate battle unfolds between two beautiful, complicated, ambitious women who have taken the gloves off and become as aggressive and merciless as any of their male higher-ups in the boy’s club. Using the divergent personalities of Rachel McAdams as the icy blonde executive Christine and Noomi Rapace as her secretive brunette protégé Isabelle, De Palma tells a story of go-getting that has gone too far — to a deliciously dark place, where these two characters have come to believe that any desire, no matter how kinky or vengefully wicked, can be attained if you’re willing to work hard, do your research and abandon all morals.

The film is De Palma’s remake of the late French filmmaker Alain Corneau’s final thriller, Crimes D’Amour (Love Crimes), which was celebrated in Europe both as a compelling mystery and a darkly comical satire of corporate amorality. The film particularly stood out as a rare battle between two strong, even fearsome, female leads.

A large part of creating Passion would lie in the casting of the two women who form the darkly competitive heart of the mystery. De Palma notes that casting Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace brought the characters into sharper focus – and also added a sharp erotic edge beyond what even he had anticipated.

“In the original movie, Alain Corneau tiptoed around the sexual attraction between the characters. But Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams played it straight out. I did not say to them ‘kiss each other and be erotic.’ They just did it. And it was quite effective,” he says.

He adds: “Noomi and Rachel had already worked together on Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and knew each other well enough that they were able to leave the comfort zone and venture into more dangerous territory. They were unafraid to go anywhere with each other, which makes their duet very dynamic and compelling to watch.”

McAdams came to the fore as the wicked teen “queen bee” Regina George in the comedy Mean Girls and has gone on to play a variety of romantic, dramatic and comedic roles including the Southern belle who has an affair with Ryan Gosling in The Notebook; an ambitious morning news producer in the comedy Morning Glory; and Owen Wilson’s nagging wife in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. To De Palma, she had all the shadings needed to make Christine at once compellingly attractive, obsessively ambitious and capable of the most malevolent backstabbing.

“Rachel is very sexy and she had great fun playing a very evil woman,” says De Palma. “Actresses don’t always like to play manipulative women like Christine, but Rachel went all out for it.”

McAdams sees Christine as someone who takes her need for absolute control beyond the pale as she tries to keep her protégé Isabelle from outdoing her. “She basically terrorizes Isabelle to the point that she completely breaks her down . . . only then, to her surprise, Isabelle retaliates. In a way, Christine is like some kind of a succubus,” she says, referring to the legend of a female demon who uses her powers of seduction to steal victims’ souls. “She finds new talent like Isabelle, she hones it and then tries to use it to her own best advantage.”

» Read Full Production Notes

Production Process

The filming for “Passion” began early March 2012 in Berlin, Germany. Rachel wrapped up filming her scenes early April 2012 but the filming continued for about 4 weeks until May 5, 2012.

» View (Official) On-Set images in our gallery

Triva & Facts

• Rachel and Noomi Rapace co-starred before in “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” but they don’t share any scenes in the movie. Paul Anderson also appeared in the film with Rachel and Noomi.
• The movie will be shot entirely in Berlin, Germany on location. It was planned to shoot the movie on location in Londen and studio work in Germany but it was decided to film on location in Berlin. A few locations are Sony Center, Bode Museum and the restaurant Margaux.
• Casting director Anja Dihrberg revealed that director De Palma “prefers actors who come from the theater and mastered their craft accordingly”. Both Rachel and Noomi graduated in theater.
• The rumored budget for the movie is $20-30 million.
• “Passion” was selected for the Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival and the New York Film Festival in the fall of 2012.

Character Quotes

Not yet available

Quotes from Rachel

“When I got the script and read it I thought I was playing the other character and then I talked to Brian and he said he wanted me to play Christine, which I thought was kind of exciting. I wouldn’t have thought of that, so I thought it was a great adjustment that he made. It works the other way too, but this makes it a bit edgier.”
On playing Christine (LA Times)

“[…] I did spend some time in Berlin and I will return soon because I will film a movie with Brian De Palma, a really dark thriller.”
On the movie (Trailerseite)

Quotes from Cast & Crew

“Not since ‘Dressed to Kill’ have I had a chance to combine eroticism, suspense, mystery and murder into one spell-binding cinematic experience. I can’t wait.”
Brian De Palma, director (IndieWire)

“Noomi Rapace is dangerous. She can be scary as Isabelle because you don’t know what goes on in that head of hers, and you believe she could kill somebody. Rachel McAdams is sexy and had great fun playing a very evil woman. Actresses don’t really like to play manipulative women like Christine, but Rachel went all out for it. Also, Noomi and Rachel had already worked together on “Sherlock Holmes” (Guy Ritchie) and knew each other well enough to leave the comfort zone and venture in dangerous territory. They were unafraid to go anywhere with each other. Which makes their duo very dynamic and compelling to watch.”
Brian de Palma, director (Press Kit)

“In the original movie, Alain Corneau tip toed around the sexual attraction between the characters. But Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams played it straight out. I did not say to them : “kiss each other and be erotic”. They just did it. And it was quite effective.”
Brian de Palma, director (Press Kit)

“I really wanted to work with Rachel and I think she is fantastic and when Brian came with this to me and he mentioned Rachel it felt like: ‘Wow this can be such a dream senario’ because it’s quite unusual to be given that kind of gift of getting the opportunity to step into a relationship between two women that’s not going to be a cute relationship or just friend because they are so competitive and they are kind of raising the game and it’s kind of a deathly manipulative game between them. ”
Noomi Rapace, co-star (Venice Film Festival Press Conference)

“I was looking at her, I remember one scene, and I was like ‘She’s too perfect. Ugh, she’s too goddamn perfect;. But I really like her and we are friends.”
Noomi Rapace, co-star (Venice Film Festival Press Conference)

Critical Reception

“McAdams does shine brighter than the others because it seems that she is seemingly more conscious of the material she is working with. She manipulates the silly dialogue to its fullest extent. Perfectly coiffed and dressed to the nines, it’s hard to buy the very young-looking McAdams as a big time executive, but who cares?”
Caitlin Hughes (The Film Reject)

Promotion Tour

Appearances “To The Wonder” was selected, as part of the competition, for Venice Film Festival on September 7, 2012 and premiered a week later during the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2012. The movie was also selected for various film festivals around the world including for the New York Film Festival, Belgrade Film Festival and Ghent Film Festival. Rachel only attended TIFF ’12. She walked the red carpet for the premiere and did a press junket including the Variety Studio the same day.
TV Appearances n/a
Magazine features n/a

Awards & Nominations

Nomination – Golden Lion Venice Film Festival (Brian de Palma)

» Full Awards & Nominations List

View our news archive for the full news feed of this project