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Girl with Dragon Tattoo Signs Mara as Salander, Craig as Blomkvist

by Anne Thompson
August 16, 2010 5:41 AM
13 Comments
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Thompson on Hollywood

All the Lisbeth Salander casting rumors just bit the dust. David Fincher has closed the deal to star his The Social Network discovery Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander in the English-language version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, written by Steve Zaillian and produced by Scott Rudin for Sony. Shooting will start in Sweden next month after Daniel Craig finishes Cowboys & Aliens.

In many ways this has been the most anticipated casting announcement since Scarlett O'Hara landed Gone with the Wind. Why? Swedish author Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy are bestsellers all over the world (more than 40 million copies sold in 44 countries) and dominate the current NYT bestseller list; the three Swedish Millennium films have scored in multiple countries as well. The first two are doing modest art-house business in the U.S.

Thompson on Hollywood

But the passion for this project centers on the character Salander. Even if James Bond star Craig is headlining as muckraking journalist Mikael Blomkvist, with Robin Wright and Stellan Skarsgard co-starring, it's the bisexual tattooed diminutive hacker Salander who has captured the world's imagination. And her casting in what could be a huge franchise for Sony was key.

Word was the studio resisted going with an unknown--Mara was the only American among the finalists (Emily Browning, Sophie Lowe, Sarah Snook and Lea Seydoux). But clearly, Fincher had his way. He hired an actress who he trusted. And those of us who haven't seen her work will discover her when we watch The Social Network, which opens the New York Film Festival September 24. Sony has set a December 21, 2011 release date for Dragon Tattoo.

In short: A star is born.

13 Comments

  • Sergio | August 20, 2010 4:42 AMReply

    "Fincher discovered Kristen Stewart in Panic Room"

    First time I saw Panic Room I swear I thought Stewart was a boy for 2/3rds of the film. Even the person sitting next to me thought it was a boy too

  • cinesimon | August 18, 2010 2:01 AMReply

    Gloria, what the hell does what coast she live on, or her financial status, have anything whatsoever to do with her acting?
    If you believe such pathetically twisted right wing cliches, then you surely also believe them about people who live in Sweden - and Noomi Rapace: she's even an ACTOR! How elitist can she get?
    But hey: I'm sure that you know much better who to cast and what to look for than Fincher does. After all: he's from HOLLYWOOD!

  • Anne Thompson | August 16, 2010 11:21 AMReply

    Fincher discovered Kristen Stewart in Panic Room, and does cast pretty well. He sees something that he wants here: hopefully an actress capable of surprising us! Yes, Zaillian, Rudin & Co. are tackling the books. Hopefully they'll get more character and less plot into these movies; I was disappointed by the two Swedish films so far. It's encouraging that they're going for a Swedish setting and accents. That was a crucial decision.

  • The Pope | August 16, 2010 8:37 AMReply

    You know, this is by far the most polite blog I visit (perhaps it is because it takes its cue from the hostess). If we were elsewhere (Jeff Wells' Hollywood-Elsewhere for example), I am certain Gloria and I would have drawn blood already.

  • Gloria | August 16, 2010 8:16 AMReply

    ....oh and about the marriage proposal line....sorry if I crossed the line, but, it does smack of Fincher wanted her all along and wasted a lot of other people's time to satisfy the studio.

    I've worked in Hollywood a long time, and I know how that goes. They jump everyone through lot of hoops when they already have their mind made up.

  • Gloria | August 16, 2010 8:12 AMReply

    Pope....Anna Parillaud was total badass and threateningly crazy beautiful.....but then they made the Hollywood version with Bridget Fonda....who is not scary to American men. Sorry, I'm gonna call it like I see it.
    European films can portray women as beautiful, and fiercely f'ked up, sexually threatening, and imperfect....in Hollywood they have to clean them up....they have to hire someone they can send down the red carpet and have photographed for People magazine. The only American actress who pulls off both is Angelina Jolie....but her looks are so one of a kind, she could probably kill someone and still be studio viable.
    I guess I'm not being clear. I watched some of Miss Mara's red carpet interviews, and I can see what he saw in her....deadpan. She is very deadpan. But, getting that feral animal out of her....not going to happen.

  • The Pope | August 16, 2010 7:45 AMReply

    Gloria, Re: Le Femme Nikita...
    Are you telling me that Anna Parillaud was not a "man's girl"? All leggy and lipstick and beautifully bobbed... who could also carry a gun?

    And as for your next line about Fincher coaching her and "next a marriage proposal." That smacks of envy and worse, plain silly.

  • Gloria | August 16, 2010 6:59 AMReply

    Personally....I think this is bull. This Mara girl is soft...and what men like, but not Lisbeth who is hard and not curvy and not soft at all. She is a rich east coaster who has never even had to struggle. I don't care if she's Olivier she will never be able to truly "get" Lisbeth. But, they would never cast a real Lisbeth type, or actress for their precious Studio movie.

    I think we women have been betrayed by his casting of a man's girl. This is tantamount to Bridget Fonda, a nice girl and good actress trying to play La Femme Nikita! Ah, Hollywood.

    Also, rumor had it that Fincher was private coaching this girl for the role. What's next a marriage proposal?

  • The Pope | August 16, 2010 6:47 AMReply

    Crow, good point about her eyes.
    Sergio, they are not remaking the Swedish movie, they are adapting the novel. Rudin, Fincher and Zaillian have all said so and I think that that is well worth noting.

  • The Pope | August 16, 2010 6:45 AMReply

    At the risk of boring you because I am repeating myself (from another thread), Fincher always casts well. I can't think of anyone in his films who has given a painful, throw-you-out-of-the-movie performance.

  • Sergio | August 16, 2010 6:36 AMReply

    P.S. At least Ellen Page, who read for it, didn't get the part. That would have been a disaster!

  • Crow T Robot | August 16, 2010 6:30 AMReply

    Anne, I know you have a crush on this project, but I don't think anyone outside of the industry and Larsson niches cares about the casting here. Proclaiming this the next Scarlett O'Hara is a bit much. These movies are glorified episodes of Murder She Wrote.

    Mara does have an unusual beauty that suits the source character. The actress is having a good year, even pre-Social Network: A brief but sexy bit role in Youth in Revolt and then waif turned dream warrior in this year's Freddy Krueger redo.

    AND THOSE EYES... she could be Ralph Fienne's daughter.

  • Sergio | August 16, 2010 6:13 AMReply

    Just heard. Nope I don't see it.

    I still think Farizua Balk should have had the part. She's already got the look of Salander. And what's wrong with the original actress playing the part? She cant speak English? And why remake the film anyway?

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