Niels Arden Oplev is not too happy with Hollywood, for entirely predictable reasons. The director behind "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" doesn't think much of the bean counters in Hollywood doing their own version of the story, and he candidly revealed as much to Word & Film recently.
"The only thing that’s annoying to me is that the Sony PR machine is trying to make their Lisbeth Salander the lead Lisbeth Salander," he says, apparently unaware what the film is called. "That’s highly unfair because Noomi [Rapace] has captured this part and it should always be all her. That’s her legacy in a way I can’t see anyone competing with. I hope she gets nominated for an Oscar." While it's admirable to see Oplev stand by his leading lady, we don't see how another actor playing the role somehow degrades the original work. We'd be curious to see how he feels about characters like James Bond and Batman. But not Remo Williams. He'll always be Fred Ward to us.
Oplev's main complaint, and it's a good one, stems from Hollywood's typical xenophobia. "Even in Hollywood there seems to be a kind of anger about the remake, like, ‘Why would they remake something when they can just go see the original?’ Everybody who loves film will go see the original one. It’s like, what do you want to see, the French version of 'La Femme Nikita' or the American one?" Of course, Hollywood is thinking commercially, since so many audiences have problems with foreign films, but they certainly are enablers for a particularly upsetting trend. Like a number of international foreign blockbusters, the original "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" takes its visual and tonal cues from a sea of American serial picture films, and the success of the books suggest people have a hunger for the story. The only reason people would be genuinely thrilled to see the American version while completely ignoring Oplev's version are because they want nothing to do with a foreign film. If we were Oplev, we'd be upset too.
Most people hear these comments from a foreign filmmaker every couple of months but just throw up their hands and say "that's Hollywood." We're not going to be those people. Granted, we thought the "Dragon Tattoo" movies were fairly shite, but chances are you know someone completely averse to foreign cinema. This is the kind of damaging groupthink that erodes our chances of understanding other cultures, and it leads to hate, bigotry and exclusion. Introduce someone to foreign cinema. You can only make them a better person.