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Full Poster: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's Lisbeth Salander Shows Her Nipple Ring UPDATED

by Anne Thompson
June 8, 2011 5:09 AM
25 Comments
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Thompson on Hollywood

Technically, it's a safety pin. This The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo international poster (full image below) is what David Fincher wanted. So far the viral internet marketing campaign, from initial leaked red band trailer to "official" green band, is as edgy as a major studio like Sony can get. While this poster will be seen in select theaters overseas, obviously this won't work stateside in print (the artful Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander photo spread in W has spread like wildfire).

Thompson on Hollywood

Provocative marketing serves to get a conversation going. Women and Hollywood, for one, decries the poster as The Pornification of Lisbeth Salander. Having read the trilogy, I have no problem with this. It's the character! She's tough and sexually liberated, she wants to shock with her tattoos and piercings. Why not go there in the advertising and say, in effect, 'this is not your standard-issue Hollywood studio remake?' Now if Fincher and writer Steve Zaillian get Salander wrong in the movie, and misrepresent her relationship with her sexuality, then I will have a problem--and so will many others.

UPDATE: Here's the Swedish poster and a provocative comparison between that and the new one which makes a compelling argument. Clearly, this poster gets Salander right, while the new one leaves us questioning the American remake's take on the character.

Thompson on Hollywood

[Hat Tip: JoBlo.]

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25 Comments

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  • Nikki | July 6, 2011 8:14 AMReply

    I haven't read through the entire comments post, so maybe this is redundant, but the first thing that I notice here is obviously her breasts, but not because she's nude. For those who have read the series, you would know that in the second novel she gets breast implants because she is unnaturally underdeveloped. While I do plan to see the movie(s), it already makes me wonder about how close they're staying to integrity the book and how far it is being strayed from...
    Just a random thought from a random person.

  • David Lynes | March 30, 2012 3:30 PM

    A well-designed poster can be a powerful aid that helps focus visual attention. Full Text Book Poster -http://www.booktextposters.co.uk/

  • MadeUBlink | June 9, 2011 10:35 AMReply

    Yeah, Lisbeth Salander is SO shocking and liberated. Really. Because tatoos and piercings are SO taboo. Regardless of whether 11-year-olds have them now, right? I'm probably the wrong audience for this kind of crap because "cutting edge" seems simply "juvenile" and "tedious." Here comes the requisite time where, as a good forward-thinking woman, I make the qualifying statement that "I don't have a problem with sex and nudity in film." Well, I'm not going there today. I'm going one better. Porn is fine. This just seems stupid.

  • Calvin | June 9, 2011 6:00 AMReply

    What is galling is Anne actually says "It's the character!" when no it is not. The Lisbeth Salander of the books hates men trying to control her, trying to protect her, trying to dominate her. One of the reasons she has a quickie with him besides the main one of wanting to get off due to bottled up sexual energy and not having any of her sexual partners on the island is Blomqvist is passive and, well, sort of submissive. Lisbeth Salander is not an exhibitionist, is not a woman looking for a guy to protect her, is not a person who would allow anyone to hold her like that. Anne says "It's the character!" and one has to wonder if she is tooking about a revisionist take on the character. Is Fincher planning on a love story angle which does not in any way exist in the books? Is Lisbeth Salander, the tough bisexual woman whose love interest in the books is a woman, going to be turned into Lisbeth Salander, the tough straight woman whose bicuriosity is a sign that she cannot establish intimacy with a man with Blomqvist as the cure that teaches her true love. Yes it would be heterosexist and a rejections of the book's character but considering the sheer offensiveness of the poster would anyone put it past Fincher?

    This is not the character of the book we see in this poster. This is the fetishization of a woman shown as being owned by a clothed man. This is something I expect out of Terry Richardson not a person who has chosen to film the trilogy.

  • claire | June 9, 2011 5:09 AMReply

    Nudity or no nudity, I cannot see an actual part of the story that this poster could reflect. It gathers attention and one can argue that the whole debate is the point of the poster, so he uses the objectivisation as a point of provocation to see what the reaction is, given the uber-feminist feel of the triology. It's sorta like - you think this will be another James Bond - well come and see.

    But however I try to explain the point of this, I still hope that they do not give it the love story angle.

  • Evan | June 9, 2011 3:59 AMReply

    Err, yeah this poster worries me about how Lisbeth will be portrayed, I like the Swedish poster of Lisbeth better.

  • Calvin | June 9, 2011 1:54 AMReply

    Mary, no one here is arguing that sexy is equal to to the "disempowerment of women". If the comments regarding the poster were arguing it is equal, they would be saying this is about as sexy as a poster gets since it's very being is about the woman being controlled by the man.

    ag, you seem to disregard that he is clothed and she is not, that he has the control hold whereas your grasp is one of almost affection for being held in control, and that it goes against the character in the book. You seem to see attacks as being based on being prudes when they are focused on a director betraying the essence of a character.

    Another article gets what is wrong with the horrible poster.

    http://www.flickfilosopher.com/blog/2011/06/oh_wtf_sexy_girl_with_the_drag.html

  • rgm | June 9, 2011 1:53 AMReply

    Come on. That poster is clearly a shill....... not porn, not bad as art .... but intended to entice, to emphasize and misrepresent their carnal connection, which is neither the point nor the story (far from it) of Larson's book. Plays on what we expect from Bond movies?????

  • TJ | June 9, 2011 1:47 AMReply

    The question remains why isn't Blomkvist also naked. He is wearing 2 layers while she is naked. If we are going full out sexy why not have BOTH of them naked? This here is a TYPICAL magazine picture and Hollywood movie poster to appeal specifically to a male audience. The male audience is put off by competition from an attractive naked man so they (usually male director and producers) have only the girl in a state of undress or in a bikini while the unattractive guy is dressed from head to toe.

    Contrast this with the poster for the Swedish version where Lisbeth Salander is fully dressed with a hoodie and actually looking badass. That is who Lisbeth Salander is. She doesn't care to titillate or amuse others, she is defensive, tough and hostile. This poster is the Paris Hilton version of Lisbeth Salander and very depressing. This is exactly what book fans were afraid would happen in the hands of a Hollywood director, even one as gifted as Fincher. His idea from the very beginning has been to sell Lisbeth as the goth sexpot for maximum publicity and she is so much more than that.

    Using sex to sell a movie about sexual violence and exploitation of women would make sense only to a MALE director and the producers who are using this as a cash grab. They could care less that this character has come to mean a lot to us young ladies. Very upseting.

  • ag | June 9, 2011 1:24 AMReply

    have to say, i don't see it. in the poster she looks very strong, even assertive. she's putting off a vibe -- power. her eyes have a laser focus and almost dare the viewer.

    that's what i saw from the first moment. that was my initial impression. she looks as if she could put a move on craig and have him in an arm-lock in a flash if she took a notion to.

    that's not a powder puff expression. that's not the way it struck me.

  • mary | June 9, 2011 1:18 AMReply

    Directors always wish that the posters of their films can be relevant to their films content and style, so David Fincher has his reasons to design this poster, and we will understand his reasons when we watch his film in December.

    Personally, I also don't have big problem with it. Sexy isn't necessarily equal to the disempowerment of women. At some point, Sexy can even serve as the empowerment of women (it was the reason why Juliette Binoche posed nude for PLAYBOY in France).

    Anyway, the Swedish original film is a $100 million worldwide box office hit; so David Fincher has to make this adaptation in his own style, otherwise his film won't do well at overseas box office.

  • Calvin | June 9, 2011 1:16 AMReply

    Anne, some people do find dominant-submissive roles sexy. No problem. The thing is that is not the way the relationship is in the books. The books are about a strong woman who is dominant, not submissive. It is about a woman who rejects being protected in any way that can be seen as having a sexual undertone. This poster turns her into a subservient exhibitionist who desires a man take the position of power over her. It is cheap, disgraceful, pandering and the complete opposite of the character in the book. Salander is turned into a sexual object of the man through both the states of dress and the positioning of the man's arm. You say it is not off-putting at all which seems to dismiss the feelings of the many comments here who do find it extremely offputting. That said - the only people defending this poster are fans of the people who produced it, fans of the director and those that did not read the books. In the case of those that did read the books, being a fan of Fincher or the producers seems to override that this is the polar opposite of the Lisbeth Salander of the books. Anyways myself and the other comments are not going to change your mind about this sexist piece of trash so here is a question for you.

    Do you think Blomqvist will be turned into her main love interest and the Wu character either dumped or made into a cameo? Considering Fincher and this horrid poster, I certainly would not be surprised.

  • Anne Thompson | June 8, 2011 12:52 PMReply

    The relationship that Blomkvist and Salander have in the first book--when they are working on the island case together-- is more than a few quickies. He's probably the first man to reach her emotionally within an intimate relationship, partly because he's kind and respectful to her. For various reasons they go their separate ways, but deep down they care for each other.

    I find this poster appealing, sexy, attractive. Not off-putting at all. And Salander looks strong, not diminished. They are a crime-solving team in "Dragon Tattoo," who are also engaged in a short-term relationship. Why not show that?

    I can see why some folks are worried about what this poster foretells as far as their relationship and her sexuality and strength in the movie--again, they'd better get it right.

  • Calvin | June 8, 2011 12:16 PMReply

    Anne, I hate to say this. I love your blogs. The article and your comment in reaction to the other comments is way off base. The comments against the poster are spot on. This is a poster which does not reflect the Lisbeth Salander of the books. The Lisbeth Salander of the books would never allow any guy to put her in a hold like that, whether it be seen as protective or controlling. That she holds his arm affectionately is also out of character. I am also confused by you seeing them as having a "comfortable, loose sexual relationship". I would hardly call one or two quickies that stop as soon as they start a "comfortable, loose sexual relationship." Salander of the books has sex with men and women to release energy with the exclusion of her love interest Miriam Wu. More disturbing is that the books are against the fetishization taking place here. Add that Blomqvist is clothed, the troubling take on Salander, the distortion of their relationship, etc. lets just call this for what it is - a sexist poster which goes completely against the character in the book. I am very disappointed to see you defend this junk.

  • rgm | June 8, 2011 8:37 AMReply

    Yes, true. BUT....this poster is clearly out to "tit"illate, which may be a great way to sell movies, but far from the message of Larson's trilogy.

  • Anne Thompson | June 8, 2011 6:44 AMReply

    Well, throughout the trilogy, Mikael Blomkvist is protective toward Salander--who has in fact been victimized. He is part of the process of her growth as a character. Obviously, Salander can take care of herself, and is a formidable opponent. She eventually breaks away from him--but she does turn to him for help when she needs it, and he's eager to help her, even when they no longer have a sexual relationship. He admires, respects and cares for her (one of the great things about the Millennium books; Stieg Larsson is a true feminist). I'm OK with this poster because in "Dragon Tattoo" Blomkvist and Salander do have a comfortable, loose sexual relationship. She looks pretty powerful in this picture, not submissive at all. I wouldn't want to run into her in a dark alley. My sense from Steve Zaillian and Scott Rudin is they have a strong handle on who Salander is. Fingers crossed.

  • TJ | June 8, 2011 6:14 AMReply

    Anne, this poster is the OPPOSITE of the character. Exposing your naked body to the masses as titillation while a FULLY dressed man stands behind you, holding you protectively and you grabbing his arms affectionately is not sexual liberation nor is it Lisbeth's style. It's submission and exploitation. Lisbeth loves sex and is sexual but she doesn't FLAUT her body around in a sexy manner. There is a difference. She hides in herself while pushing people away with her tattoos, piercings, and strange hair.

    The poster is just to grab a male audience to see a movie about a strong woman. If Fincher thinks having the character naked is the same as being bad-ass then he doesn't really understand her. In her world, the man behind her would be the one naked and submissive with HER protecting HIM.

  • mal | June 8, 2011 6:13 AMReply

    this is what I love about the US.it is not only the worlds biggest producer of porn and paradoxically, but it has one of the most prudish attitude towards nudity. it is intresting to chart the disappearance of the female nipple from network tv, in the 70s and 80s mainstream tv from three's company to Magnum PI, the female nipple is seen (albeit under clothing) as just another part of the female body, this culminated in Jen Anniston's sweater busting "pokies" then all of a sudden puft women began having Barbie's anatomy and nipples became "sexualised" and hidden...what happened?

  • rgm | June 8, 2011 6:09 AMReply

    Looks just like another James Bond movie. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Who Loved Me.....????? Too bad.

  • ag | June 8, 2011 5:41 AMReply

    thanks for the poster

    pornification?

    wow. read Melissa Silverstein's bit. she's all over the place. so -- naked female body = porn? dude, if a man wrote that women would burn him alive. is it not more than a little puritanical to suggest that nudity equates to porn or can she get away with it because she's female?

    besides, the version with craig's hand-on-boobage, which Melissa seems okay with is, technically, more porny than the one with the exposed nipple in that the contact (hand on breast) is sexual in nature and, as such, closer to porn than the other one, which, to me, plays more artistic/moody.

    and, this quote: "I’ve already started to read posts about how hot Rooney is with her nipple ring on full display. That’s enough to start my blood boiling."

    uh...her blood is boiling? Rooney is, um, ...hot. okay, let's watch our terms. in this new poster Rooney exudes a certain danger and sexuality. duh. we get that. that. was. the. fucking. intent. this makes Melissa's blood boil? shit, what's her next course of action -- demand that table legs be covered lest they give rise to impure thoughts?

    (Anne, who the hell do you have on staff over there?)

    at least she's honest. she says, "I don’t know exactly what to make of it." despite having "read the books" and also "read all the books". (sorry, kinda cheap of me, i know, but it illustrates a point: this level of writing is perhaps too emotionally informed).

    would have to agree. she doesn't know exactly what to make of it. thanks to her, however, for sharing/slamming.

  • Kaylie | June 8, 2011 5:40 AMReply

    It isn't only about the nudity, Anne. It's about a fully clothed "big strong man" type protectively holding a naked Lisbeth. Out of the two of them, Lisbeth is the badass, not Mikael. She doesn't need protecting. There's nothing "sexually liberated" about this poster. It's sexually submissive. And the comments on other movie sites about this poster have left me completely disgusted. Such a strong female character being completely objectified. THAT is NOT what this movie is about. It's disgusting. The studio is clearly worried that men won't go see a movie about a woman unless they are going to be able to see her naked.

  • mary | June 8, 2011 5:37 AMReply

    This poster was actually designed by David Fincher himself.
    Therefore, the poster may actually reflect some parts of this film's content and style.

  • Anon | June 8, 2011 5:32 AMReply

    Lisbeth was sexually liberated in the books, but she was also a private person. She's described as having a social disorder. Provocative media isn't just showing a woman's pierced breast. As anyone that has read the Dragon Tattoo series knows, Lisbeth is the strong one. This poster does not reflect that and I'm starting to get the feeling that Fincher just dressed Rooney Mara up to look tough but didn't get the heart of the characters.

  • sophia savage | June 8, 2011 5:21 AMReply

    Those marketing this film assume that a semi-unknown female actress (Rooney Mara) can't carry the film without showing her tits and having a man backing her up (Daniel Craig/James Bond, no less). And even though Lisbeth is all about retaliating against men who hate women, male audiences still like the idea of her being treated like an object...and torture porn. Putting a man's arm around a naked Lisbeth is negating the power she's meant to have - it's using her anger and sexual independence as a titillating turn-on rather than a source of power, and something to be feared. The poster obviously considers itself badass, but really it's protecting its own balls by making Lisbeth an object. I'm excited but also really worried to see what Fincher did with this...I'm hoping the marketing does not reflect the film content. I'm a fan of Fincher and think the production quality of his Dragon Tattoo could be much better than the Swedish version, but this is not a good sign for how Lisbeth's character has been approached. My gut tells me he knows better, and the poster is just to get people's blood boiling.

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