First Official Look: Rooney Mara As Lisbeth Salander In 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo'

by Kevin Jagernauth
January 12, 2011 4:24 AM
3 Comments
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David Fincher Says Scarlett Johansson Was "Too Sexy" & Jennifer Lawrence "Too Tall" For The Part


Uh, whoa.

While many have wondered how the relatively unknown Rooney Mara -- who plays Mark Zuckerberg's ex-girlfriend in "The Social Network" -- would step into the role of Lisbeth Salander played to great acclaim in the Swedish film series by Noomi Rapace, this first official look should turn heads considerably. The operative word to be used here is: fierce. Rooney Mara looks utterly transformed, bad ass and a little sexy too and really, we're not sure why anyone would have doubted that the meticulous David Fincher would know exactly what he was doing in casting the part. However, as Mara tells W magazine (via JoBlo), she had her doubts about landing the role and the audition process was an adventure itself.

“Before I read the book, I didn’t think I could do it,” Mara said. “I locked myself in a room for a week and read all three books, and decided I really wanted to be Lisbeth. But I thought I had no shot at it.” And the competition was certainly tough. Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Lawrence, Katie Jarvis and even Yo-Landi Visser of South African rap troupe Die Antwoord were all being considered. But as the field whittled down and the audition process grew longer, Fincher began testing the actresses with one of the film's toughest scenes.

“It was hard,” Fincher recalled. “We had five or six girls audition with the rape scene. The girls had to kick a dildo up his ass. That’s Salander’s big scene, and we had to see if they could do it.”

Mara was up to the task but the whole process left her a little dazed. “David added the rape scene at the last minute, and I said, ‘Ohmigod! They must be really serious.’ They did one test, then another a week later. They shot me in the subway in L.A. in full hair and makeup with a motorcycle. Every day they had a new request. On a Monday morning, David called me in, and I said, ‘What do you want me to do to my hair now?’ I was at the end of my rope. He told me I had the part. I hadn’t even read the script yet.”

So, why did the likes of Johannson and Lawrence miss out? The former was "too sexy" for the part (Fincher describes her as "Marilyn on a bike") while the latter was "too tall." What could have been indeed, but Mara appears to have jumped into the role with both feet and the results look pretty incredible.

The film will continue shooting until the early spring and then David Fincher will head into the editing bay to deliver it for a December 21, 2011 release. And in case you missed it, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are back and will provide the score to the film. We can't wait.

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3 Comments

  • Christopher Bell | January 12, 2011 10:09 AMReply

    With all of those quotes, it's going to be odd if he wins the Oscar. Frankly I think "Black Swan" is a little too weird to win, though maybe "Inception" stands a chance?

  • The Playlist | January 12, 2011 6:33 AMReply

    My thoughts since day 1. Contrary to popular belief, even though i think the movie is "overrated" I do not hate it. I thought it was just a bit much ado about nothing and always said that peter Travers quote about "defining a generation" -- which ugh, that sentiment seemed to get perpetuated down the line -- was nonsense.

    I also think that it's interesting that Fincher says the picture is "glib" and a "movie" not a "film" (obviously one is more estimable).

    He's right, it's about friendship and betrayal and Facebook is a backstory -- the disollution of the friendship does not define this generation at all, nor are their any threads in it to support the alienation of 'being online" is what causes this friendship.

    it could have been about the guys who invented the Friendster (which no longer matters, but it too wouldn;t have mattered much).

    And then it goes back to my initial frustration. The friendship is ill-defined. I don't feel any heartcrushing betrayal at the end. I never felt like these guys were super best friends who would die for one another.

    They were college buddies who had a falling out...

  • modage | January 12, 2011 6:25 AMReply

    Thought that was a great article. Loved Fincher's quotes about The Social Network as well.

    "On Social Network, I didn’t really agree with the critics’ praise. It interested me that Social Network was about friendships that dissolved through this thing that promised friendships, but I didn’t think we were ripping the lid off anything. The movie is true to a time and a kind of person, but I was never trying to turn a mirror on a generation."

    Basically telling critics they've overestimated the film.

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