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Lisbeth Salander: Next Generation Bond or Holmes?

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 15, 2010 at 10:05AM

Amid all the hubbub over the casting of Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander in the Hollywood film version of the Millenium Trilogy, David Chute delivers a compelling argument for why Salander is a defining character for the ages. We shouldn't fuss over the different movies, Swedish or American, he asserts, because there will be more versions to come, ala James Bond, or yes, Sherlock Holmes:Fans should not be too quick to denounce as greed-heads Hollywood producers who envision the "Girl" series as a potential mystery/action franchise, one that could carry on telling new stories indefinitely -- not when their inspiration could turn out to be the drafts and outlines for seven additional books left behind on the legendary laptop. That it was Larsson's plan, in the first instance to write a long series about Blomkvist and Salander isn't necessarily the best argument in its favor. A jaded author might not be the best judge of the richness of his own creations; more likely than his readers to regard them simply as puppets. Perhaps we should feel grateful in a way, that it hasn't yet come to that. It may seem morbid to say so, but like an actor or singer who dies young, with his or her legend untarnished, who never gets fat or loses his hair, the Millennium Trilogy stands now as an origin story that has not been diminished for us in retrospect by "going to series" and being boiled down to a formula.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Amid all the hubbub over the casting of Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander in the Hollywood film version of the Millenium Trilogy, David Chute delivers a compelling argument for why Salander is a defining character for the ages. We shouldn't fuss over the different movies, Swedish or American, he asserts, because there will be more versions to come, ala James Bond, or yes, Sherlock Holmes:

Fans should not be too quick to denounce as greed-heads Hollywood producers who envision the "Girl" series as a potential mystery/action franchise, one that could carry on telling new stories indefinitely -- not when their inspiration could turn out to be the drafts and outlines for seven additional books left behind on the legendary laptop. That it was Larsson's plan, in the first instance to write a long series about Blomkvist and Salander isn't necessarily the best argument in its favor. A jaded author might not be the best judge of the richness of his own creations; more likely than his readers to regard them simply as puppets. Perhaps we should feel grateful in a way, that it hasn't yet come to that. It may seem morbid to say so, but like an actor or singer who dies young, with his or her legend untarnished, who never gets fat or loses his hair, the Millennium Trilogy stands now as an origin story that has not been diminished for us in retrospect by "going to series" and being boiled down to a formula.

In short, Salander is a keeper.

This article is related to: Directors, Franchises, Genres, Headliners, Studios, Books, David Fincher, Girl with Dragon Tattoo, Thriller, Sony/Screen Gems/Sony Pictures Classics


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.