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Sony May Write Daniel Craig Out Of 'Dragon Tattoo' Sequels As Actor Asks For Raise

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist January 31, 2013 at 9:06AM

There has been a lot of speculation about why Sony has been taking their time in getting a sequel in front of cameras for "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo." Maybe the studio was expecting more than the over $230 million they took in worldwide for the hard-R, adult thriller. Perhaps it's the price point, with fees for David Fincher, Scott Rudin and screenwriter Steve Zaillian tallying between $25-$35 million before a frame of film is even shot (not to mention that Fincher gets $5 million anyway as part of his pay-or-play deal if Sony goes with someone else). However, the studio has continually insisted a followup is coming...but just not before 2014. And now things seem to have gotten a bit more complicated.
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The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Daniel Craig

There has been a lot of speculation about why Sony has been taking their time in getting a sequel in front of cameras for "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo." Maybe the studio was expecting more than the over $230 million they took in worldwide for the hard-R, adult thriller. Perhaps it's the price point, with fees for David Fincher, Scott Rudin and screenwriter Steve Zaillian tallying between $25-$35 million before a frame of film is even shot (not to mention that Fincher gets $5 million anyway as part of his pay-or-play deal if Sony goes with someone else). However, the studio has continually insisted a followup is coming...but just not before 2014. And now things seem to have gotten a bit more complicated.

THR reports that it's not Fincher that is holding things up, but Mikael Blomkvist himself, Daniel Craig. The actor, perhaps justifiably, is asking for a pay raise, following the billion dollar success of "Skyfall." While Sony has an option on the actor already for the followups, the trade notes "the studio could write the character out of the sequel." However, that would present its own set of headaches.

For one thing, they'd have to recommission Zaillian to write new scripts, which would require spending more money on the movie that hasn't lensed, and moreover, he might not be available as he's working on HBO's "Criminal Justice." And no one has been more loyal to his cast during 'Dragon Tattoo' than Fincher, and we'd wager that he would be less than happy about seeing his lead actor unceremoniously removed from the franchise. Meanwhile, Sony's Columbia Pictures arm distributes the Bond movies with MGM who co-produces, with the studios also pairing up on the 'Dragon Tattoo' movies, and dumping Craig could make things a little awkward.

Our guess? This all sounds like negotiation tactic stuff, and we don't see Craig leaving, if only for the fact that his exit would likely cause more problems than it could solve. The endgame here is that Sony wants to cut down the $90 million they spent on the first movie, and while that will require some tough decisions, we couldn't see that happening at the expense of the creative team. At least we hope not.

However, the question remains as to when this will happen. Fincher is gearing up to go into production as executive producer (and we'd wager he'll direct a couple episodes too) of the second season of "House Of Cards," which shoots in the spring. And while the recently announced "Gone Girl" and "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea" remain options, the former apparently needs script work while the latter is still sorting out a budget that Disney can roll with. But Craig is tied up anyway with Bond, as the next installment aims for a 2014 release date, which means he'll likely be shooting that before the end of the year.

So, in short -- keep waiting. Whether or not we'll see Lisbeth Salander kicking hornet's nests and playing with fire anytime soon still seems up in the air.

This article is related to: Daniel Craig, The Girl Who Played With Fire, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, Sony, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, David Fincher, Gone Girl, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea: Captain Nemo


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