Stieg Larsson died of a heart attack seven years ago, long before the series of novels gathered a huge fan base (the books are worldwide bestsellers) and the Swedish films (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest) made a star and bad-ass idol out of Noomi Rapace, and inspired a David Fincher adaptation with Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig. Larsson never made a will, leaving the trilogy and franchise's future unclear...
His brother Joakim and father Erland have become custodians of the Millennium sensation. Larsson's longtime girlfriend Eva Gabrielsson says she was involved in writing the series and has an unfinished version of a fourth book. It's word against word and the late author left nothing to settle any disputes, nor could he have imagined how popular his books would become, which only amplifies the stakes. Spines has more on the controversy here. Below are excerpts from her interview with Joakim, in which he says, "I want there to be ten books [as planned]. But you know, he died. And he didn’t finish the books...I don’t believe anyone else should write those books. They are his books."
Word & Film: What aspects of the books are most important for you to ensure are preserved in the film adaptations of your brother’s books?
Joakim Larsson: Violence against women. My brother had a strong view about that. He was a feminist, anti-racist, and investigative journalist.
W&F: When did you first know he had a talent and passion for creative writing and storytelling?
JL: We always knew. Since he was a little kid. When he was twelve or thirteen my parents bought a typewriter as a birthday gift for Stieg. It was very expensive for them but they saw a talent for writing. And he started immediately to write on the typewriter. Story after story. It was mostly detective novels and stuff like that. Hardy Brothers, that sort of thing.
W&F: At what point did you realize he was working on these books?
JL: He came home and told us he had this idea for Lisbeth Salander. He said, “It’s Pippi Longstocking as an adult.” That was the idea for Lisbeth Salander. And when he tried to describe her, he said she’s a little bit like my daughter – vulnerable on the inside but a lot of spirit as well. At that time my daughter wore a lot of black.
W&F: Do you think he would have been surprised at the worldwide success of the books?
JL: He knew they were good. He was proud of them. But with books, some very good books don’t sell. Some bad books sell millions. You never know.
W&F: Do you think he had a vision for a larger epic than the trilogy?
JL: He wanted to write ten books. If it was published it wasn’t that important to him. It was just the pleasure of writing. After three books he thought, the story sticks. It’s a good story. My father didn’t like the sex in the books. He told him, it’s too much sex. Stieg said, “No sex is what’s selling.”
W&F: The sex in the books is not sexy. Fortunately most of the films have reflected that.
JL: Sex is often very stupid in films. When you watch James Bond, it’s stupid.
W&F: In these films it’s very emotional and terrifying. What do you think of the films?
JL: We’re very happy with the Swedish films. For Swedish films they’re very good. We were very proud of seeing my brother’s books on the screen.
W&F: When he wrote these books, do you think he suspected they would be turned into films?
JL: Yes. He discussed it very much with the publisher. He said he wanted them to be movies. He said the publisher should decide who should do the film and so on.
W&F: Was he a big film fan?
JL: Yes. My father was an extra in movies. And my brother and I would go and watch films a couple of evenings each week.
W&F: American or European films.
JL: Mostly American but also everything. Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A space Odyssey” was our favorite. He always loved science fiction.
W&F: Do you see any possibility of a fourth book ever coming out?
JL: No, I don’t see any possibility of that ever happening.
W&F: Would you like to find a way of making it happen?
JL: I want there to be ten books. But you know, he died. And he didn’t finish the books. They were nearly finished but not finished.
W&F: And what about the possibility of someone else finishing them or publishing them in their unfinished state?
JL: I don’t believe anyone else should write those books. They are his books.