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Girl with Dragon Tattoo: Who Should Play Salander?

by Anne Thompson
March 18, 2010 3:59 AM
  • |
Thompson on Hollywood

As the Swedish global hit opens stateside and the English-language version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo gets under way, screenwriter Steve Zaillian plans to place tough, bisexual hacker/sleuth Lisbeth Salander front and center, recognizing that she's the star of Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy. So who should play her?

Vote in poll on jump. And add any other ideas you may have in the comments. Personally, I hope Sony and producer Scott Rudin see the wisdom of setting the series in Sweden with European actors. No Americans, please! It won't be authentic otherwise. Brits are Europeans. They could do it.

Who should play Lisbeth Salander?
Ellen Page
Kristen Stewart
Natalie Portman
Cote de Pablo
Katherine Moennig free polls


  • Elaine | June 30, 2010 4:48 AMReply

    Salander: Kiera Knightly (but she may be too tall?) but has the face I envisioned and the demeanor
    Blomkvist: Viggo Mortensen
    Bjurman: Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)

  • karen | June 25, 2010 3:53 AMReply

    Asia Argento from the Vin Diesel movie XXX!!! tough good cool smart!!!

  • Joanna | June 24, 2010 6:04 AMReply

    Noomi Rapace...
    not cute not sexy looks way too old! remember people mistake Lisbeth as a child all the time!!!

  • Joanna | June 24, 2010 6:00 AMReply

    Lisbeth - Ashley Greene(allice Cullen)
    short thin (small chest in the first book) yet sexy

    Mikael - Daniel Craig

    Berger - Angelina Jollie, Demi Moore

  • acsc | June 19, 2010 10:43 AMReply

    Ellen Page. She's played a dark role in Hard Candy, and needs to go to back to that, for fear of becoming a character actor, ie Juno

  • briebo1 | June 17, 2010 11:43 AMReply

    Natalie Portman is the only actress I can think of that might be able to pull this off. Salander has to look anorexic and childish but also able to be believed to be in her mid-twenties at the same time. Salander also has to be dark, and Portman can pull of dark - have ya seen Closer - she played flawlessly an incredibly dark character. Portman is also highly intelligent - she has a Harvard degree - and I don't think many young actresses could pull off the genius that is Salander without it seeming contrived for the screen.

  • Kath | April 23, 2010 6:15 AMReply

    Scarlett is a little too curvey. Don't overlook Evan Rachel Wood.

  • Marissa | April 1, 2010 11:28 AMReply

    Don't touch the movie!! It's brilliant as it is! Noomi plays Lisbeth wth perfection! and the rest of the cast were amazing. No remake will ever be as good.. it will just have "american trash" stamped all over it.

  • Kaisa | March 29, 2010 11:46 AMReply

    There's no one better as Salander than Noomi Rapace, so my vote goes for her.

  • Juggernaut | March 24, 2010 12:26 PMReply

    Kristen Stewart very bad actress!Only Portman can play in this movie!

  • amanda | March 22, 2010 12:18 PMReply

    well i'm guessing the orignal actress won't do it again, Fariuza Balk has the look but maybe she's to old now, Ellen Page would be great how about Thora Birch or Christina Ricci

  • brian | March 21, 2010 10:07 AMReply

    mmmm Anne your description of the requirements emphasise again my choice: Scarlett Johansson - believe me, she would be perfect: lose the blond hair and she would transform into everything needed and described in the novels - have another look at Lost in Translation...and for the role of Blomkvist, Daniel Craig. These two together, with the enormous following of the trilogy, would be box-office dynamite, and for those who throw up their hands in horror at the thought of Bond, please go back to his earlier roles, largely unseen in the USA, including, interestingly, Copenhagen [ok it's Danish not Swedish but see his convincing European portrayal of the German Heisenberg]

  • Chris | March 20, 2010 7:54 AMReply

    I watched the third film yesterday. The remake of this trilogy has great potential. This is going to be the next franchise in the Bourne/Da Vince Code tradition. And since it's done by Sony it's going to be huge. It already is: the books have sold more copies than the Da Vinci Code in some countries.

    The casting will be extremely important. The Salander character has so many facets it's almost impossible to find an actress capable of doing what Noomi Rapace did in the original movies.

    Imagine a different actress for the Kim Novak role in Vertigo. Impossible. The casting director does need a Hitchock's eye for actresses for this role. I don't think any of the aforementioned actresses would be right for the part.

    I don't see Ellen Page as a hacker. Kristen Stewart is too young (Salander is 26 in the second movie and 28 in the third) and no hacker either.

    Nathalie Portman is a possibility, think of Closer/Hotel Chevalier. She's very intelligent, but often too glamorous. Too beautiful shouldn't be a problem, the real Noomi Rapace is quite pretty. Charlize Theron was quite beautiful before she became a Monster. Nathalie Portman could be right if she would be a little more like Diablo Cody.

    I hope they'll cast character actors for all of the other roles. I love character actors like they had in the Golden Age: Walter Brennan, Thelma Ritter, Thomas Mitchell, Charles Coburn, Beulah Bondi.

  • Liz | March 20, 2010 6:05 AMReply

    Stewarts too young. Is Keira Knightley seriously being considered for this role as well? She can pull off the waif, androgynous look easily enough.

  • Bill | March 20, 2010 5:52 AMReply

    Yeah, Kristen Stewart would be good in this. Or, if you want a European, try Johanna Wokalek (The Baader-Meinhof Gang.)

  • Anne Thompson | March 20, 2010 5:20 AMReply

    Of the American actresses, I think Ellen Page gets closest--she has to be tiny, young-looking 20ish, androgynous, physically athletic, damaged but very smart and strong. She's a chameleon able to take on different guises--including glam/sexy--we have to believe her as a dedicated sleuth, lover, ruthless tracker and killer. Carey Mulligan seems too soft and waif-like, Natalie Portman and Evan Rachel Wood too beautiful, Scarlett Johansson, too sexy. Kristen Stewart can do anything. She has that ability to seem ordinary, to transform.

    But as I said, I prefer the idea of a European unknown. I agree that a younger Franka Potente is the right direction.

  • Chris | March 20, 2010 2:38 AMReply

    Both Kristen Stewart and Katherine Moennig have a certain boyish alternative look, though they might look like an Avril Lavigne wannabe in an Exploited t-shirt and sneakers. They know how to smoke though, which is important, even good actors don't seem to know how to act like a smoker.

    I hope they don't cast big stars for this movie. All of the faces of the original movies were fresh to me, which I liked. It's one of the reasons I like watching HBO. Stars always inherit the roles they've played before. You can't erase what you've seen before.

    A cast of Europeans in a movie shot in Europe would be nice.

    The first Millenium movie reminded me of The Bourne Identity (Franka Potente would be a good Lisbeth Salander if she'd been younger) which was partly shot on location in Europe. Kind of refreshing.

    My all European alternative choices:
    Alexandra Maria Lara (Der Untergang, Control)
    Oksana Akinshina (Lilja 4-ever)
    Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious basterds)
    Carice van Houten (Black book, Valkyrie)
    Rebecca Hall (Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Frost/Nixon)

  • Mark | March 19, 2010 11:17 AMReply

    Carey Mulligan would be brilliant.

  • Victor | March 19, 2010 9:40 AMReply

    wasn't carrey mulligan in the running too? she'd be great especially with the recent heat she's getting after the oscar nom.

  • Brian | March 19, 2010 7:33 AMReply

    I think this role is tailor-made for Megan Fox. And I refuse to see any version unless she's in it.

  • Koto | March 19, 2010 3:18 AMReply

    I'm not sure about Evan Rachel Wood..?

  • DavidC | March 19, 2010 2:28 AMReply

    Add Katie Jarvis of "Fishtank" to the list and I'll vote

  • Liz | March 19, 2010 2:14 AMReply

    I havent seen the original, but how old is she meant to be?

    I'd say Cecile de France. I'd love to see her in a role like this.

  • Liana | March 19, 2010 1:42 AMReply

    Actually, I love Kate Moenning, but already with a remake. Why must weu butcher things, let it be for once. Enjoy the Swedish, even if you have to read subtitles.

  • brian | March 19, 2010 1:06 AMReply

    of course this brilliant trilogy must stay Swedish otherwise it is all meaningless - the third in the series, The Girl who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, is so relevant to the Swedish political scene etc...a perfect star would be SCARLETT JOHANSSON

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