First Official Look at Rooney Mara in THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, Details on the Film [UPDATED]

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With The Social Network driving full-steam-ahead towards a big night at the Oscars in February, director David Fincher is taking a break from filming the American film adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo to make the obligatory pre-Oscar press rounds. Lucky for us, that means lots of Fincher interviews, including a rather extensive one with Steve from earlier this month. Recently, Fincher and Dragon Tattoo star Rooney Mara sat down with W magazine (via JoBlo) to discuss their film adaptation of Larsson’s “Millenium Trilogy” and give us our first official look at Mara as the heroine of the books, Lisbeth Salander. Among the details offered up on the film, they revealed that their version of Tattoo will have a few differences from the book:

The script, which captures the novel’s bleak tone (its original Swedish title was Men Who Hate Women), was written by Academy Award winner Steven Zaillian, who wrote Schindler’s List, and it departs rather dramatically from the book. Blomkvist is less promiscuous, Salander is more aggressive, and, most notably, the ending—the resolution of the drama—has been completely changed. This may be sacrilege to some, but Zaillian has improved on Larsson—the script’s ending is more interesting.

For more from Mara and Fincher, including who might’ve directed The Social Network had Fincher passed, hit the jump. [Update: We have updated this article with five new images]

The-Girl-With-The-Dragon-Tattoo-Rooney-Mara-cover-imageOne of the main things that grabbed Fincher’s interest when reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was that the villains in the film are big businessmen:

“Fascism has worked its way out of politics,” Fincher said, “and gone into high finance. Today Woodward and Bernstein would be investigating corruption in the financial arena. I was interested in that. And, of course, the girl.”

The role of heroine Lisbeth Salander is no easy task, and Mara definitely had her hesitations before actually reading the material (an “androgynous, bisexual computer hacker with multiple piercings and a distinctive tattoo on her back” doesn’t exactly sound like a cake walk):

“Before I read the book, I didn’t think I could do it,” Mara said. She was calling me from Zurich, where the production moved in early December. “I locked myself in a room for a week and read all three books, and decided I really wanted to be Lisbeth. But I thought I had no shot at it.”

For Fincher, Mara was always the perfect fit for Salander:

“I wanted her from the beginning,” Fincher stated. “Rooney may be a trust-fund baby from football royalty, but she’s levelheaded and hardworking. It’s so odd how who people are comes out in auditions. We didn’t make it easy for Rooney, and there was no way to dissuade her.”

The-Girl-With-The-Dragon-Tattoo-Rooney-Mara-tattoo-imageAs you may recall, there were a large number of actresses vying for the part of Salander. Regarding the rigorous audition process, Fincher talked about how he sprung one of the most difficult scenes from the film on each actress to see if she could handle it:

“We had five or six girls audition with the rape scene. The girls had to kick a dildo up his ass. That’s Salander’s big scene, and we had to see if they could do it.”

An interesting tidbit about The Social Network gleaned from the article was the fact that, had Fincher passed, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin would have made his directorial debut on the project:

“I read it on a Sunday night, and e-mailed Sorkin: You’ll have to put your directorial debut on hold.”

If you’ve checked out the special features on The Social Network Blu-ray, then you may have seen that Fincher did eventually give Sorkin his shot at the director’s chair. When filming a couple of pick-ups on the very last day of production on The Social Network, Fincher left the set and told Sorkin to direct the scene himself (Sorkin will indeed get his directorial debut sooner rather than later, as he’s currently set to write and direct the John Edwards biopic The Politician).

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is currently filming in Europe and stars Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig, Stellan Skarsgaard and Robin Wright, with a release date set for December 21stThe Social Network is out on Blu-ray and DVD now.

New images via W.

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  • Sajorij

    They did a great job at reducing her hotness :/

  • Bigfiction

    I think this flick is going on the mantle next to Chinatown. I’m glad they got the revealing of Salander’s look out of the way early and didn’t make it a big deal.

    Has anyone noticed the DVD menu for the Social Network? It’s fucking awesome. I’ve seen the movie a few times already so I was only going to have it on as background. I ended up watching just the menu though, and realized it was an intentionally shot and edited additional piece. I thought it was really atmospheric and a worthy introduction to a great movie.

    • Clayton

      I agree. It was weird realizing it wasn’t just a montage of movie clips and something with more intent. Also, I almost got all the way through the documentary last night. Fascinating to have such a “fly on the wall” perspective to great filmmaking in progress.

  • Junierizzle

    Still looks hot.

  • christophercantos

    bingo! i love the changes! i saw the original sweddish film. and what i notice, although it’s a perfect crime murder mystery type of film(much like the Ghost Writer is a perfect thriller), it’s not really outstanding and doesn’t break the grounds of its genre. i was somehow dissapointed with the news Fincher is doing this because it is so easy for him. and i hate watching the same movie over again(even though this film was really good).

    i remember great episodes of detective conan while watching this. and the ending was okay. it tied up all the loose ends, but i imagine(after the news Fincher took the job), if a Fincher film would end like that, it would be really disappointing.

  • Rachael

    I’m really not liking what I’m hearing about the liberties that Fincher is taking with the source material. I think Blomkvist’s womanizing is thematically a critical part of the novel, the character’s relationship with Salander, and consequently the character of Salander herself. I’ll admit to being interested in the changes that Fincher and Zaillan are making to the ending, which bordered on slapstick-y in the novel, but fundamentally altering the central characters and their relationship to each other is worrisome.

  • rt alive

    I personaly don’t see the point of making another movie when there is realy good one already. Just because it was so good and Hollywood think that they can make another movie just for the benefit of money and not for art. My point is based on the choice of cast – a male actor who got fame from playing action movies and big blockbusters like James Bond and the female character goes to an actress that is actualy so far away from the description of Lisbeth in the article: “androgynous, bisexual computer hacker with multiple piercings and a distinctive tattoo on her back” ïn my opinion just because she is a young teeny star and that’s modern these days.
    And I am realy sceptic that they will do a better job with the adaptation of the book based on the fact that I haven’t watched any Hollywood good movie for quite long.
    So I recomend the Swedish movie which is dark and realistic with very good acting.

    • Scott

      You haven’t seen a good Hollywood movie in a long time? Quit being pretentious, no one likes that. Go rent Social Network it’s a great movie and David Fincher doesn’t make crap so no reason to think this movie will suddenly be awful.

  • welling15

    she’s trying too hard.>>>
    still don’t see much that movie presence in her.

  • Roger

    I agree with the comments above. Why even make the movie. Money, lack of creativity, lack of new ideas. Same old theme in Hollywood. just redoing what was done right the first time. accept Hollywoods version will be trashing and more gory. The original trilogy were excellent movies. The books were still better, but then again they could not put the whole book into the movies or each one would have been 4 hours long. But they got the tone, and feel of the novels perfictly.

  • Tom

    Whoa. Mothereffer. Fincher gave her the forehead of the South African chick. Nice job emphasizing her brain. Take that, ‘purists’. A U.S. film for U.S. moviegoers.

  • christophercantos

    why remake an already made movie? because i don’t think Fincher is really making a remake of the sweddish film, rather an adaptation of the book. you make it sound like Fincher is one of those hacks who keeps making remakes of 80s horror flick. excuse me! folks! THIS IS FINCHER! you know, FINCHER!

  • Etanche Perihar

    Pointless remake…..

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  • Jingizu

    Argh please! I can’t understand the obsession with “FINCHER, you know FINCHER”! Yeah yeah, his movies are good I suppose if you like that sort of thing. But personally, I can think of only one movie of his that I really loved and that was Alien 3. Se7en was good I suppose but not something I’ll put on my dvd rack. Social Network was bleh, Zodiac was boring, Benjamin Button I don’t even want to talk about how crap that was, Fight Club was so pretentious it squeacked and not at all like the book. I suppose its all a matter of what you like and what you don’t. For example, I love Darren Aronofsky & Tim Burton films, but there’s loads of people who hate one or both of them. Anyway,

    For those who complain about a “remake”, its not one. Fincher is doing a new interpretation of the book, not doing a remake of the Swedish movie. So in light of how he treats books [Button & Fight Club specifically] I don’t have a lot of hope that he’ll stay true to the source material. Already heard of changes to the ending etc. etc. But we’ll see, it may be a great film. Or not.

    Think they got the Lisbeth look right on Rooney Mara, but will have to see if she can pull off that kind of intense acting. Haven’t seen any evidence of it so far, when you look at her other films, but she may pull a surprise on us.

  • SPS

    I love it. It’s everything I pictured Salander to be when I first read the book last year. It’s punk all the way, but it also shows the fearlessness and venerability that I think is key for the Salander character. I admit, it’s hard to top Noomi Rapace, but there were a wonderful number of bright young actresses that were up to the challenge (Ellen Page, Emily Browning and, my personal choice when I first read it, Mia Wasikowska). After seeing The Social Network and A Nightmare On Elm Street, I knew Rooney Mara could easily play this character and take her all the way. She’s really going to surprise people and I already know her performance will be excellent and if she does not get the Oscar nomination, I will be so ticked! Can December 21 come any faster?

  • Skeptical

    I’m not buying her at all in these photos. She doesn’t look right for the part. Yes, they punked her out, she got some piercings and cut her hair, and that’s about as far as the similarities go. The woman in the book (portrayed perfectly by Noomi Rapace) is kick ass, not emaciated, she is flat chested (which is referenced many many times in the books), and had dark, dark eyes. The attitued jsut doesn’t look there, I guess I will have to see the movie to see if she can pull it off, but she’s got her work cut out for her up against Noomi Rapace and I’m already not buying it from the photo op!

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  • jose

    @Skeptical… rooney mara is not some huge busty woman. i think she is pretty flat chested and if she is going to reprise the role in the girl who played with fire, she does get breast implants at the beginning of the movie.

    now, the swedish version of the movie is a great movie, if it were to stand on its own. i don’t particularly like some of the changes that were made and as a adaption of the book, i think it was mediocre at best.

    things like not mentioning the relationship miakel had with erica, miakel breaking into harald’s house, cecilia not playing a more prominent role and other obvious omissions really bothered me.
    also, the movie seems like they slapped together a bunch of scenes and did not have any smooth transitions. one moment miakel is at his cabin and the next he’s running around hedeby without any rhyme or reason.

    i think, based on the trailer and seeing the main characters being portrayed on dragontattoo.com, that the US version is going to be a more accurate representation of what the book was. i don’t know how they will end it, but i have high hopes since Fincher is directing it.

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  • Emily

    Is everyone up there on something? The Swedish attempt at the movie was not very good at all and the lisbeth from the old film was just horrible! She had fat cheeks and she wasnt attractive at all..Stieg likes to point out things indirectly to you in the book to make you really think about what the characters look and sound like…there is not alot of physical description, but the one physical description he does elaborate on is Lisbeths and i can quote directly from the book “lisbeth was someone attractive”…the lisbeth from the films already made was just not the right fit..Rooney will do much better. As for them making new films it simply NEEDS to be done…I think there doing it because of the not so good attempt at the first one do they are just trying to give the amazing books some justice…
    Please save the money talk for remakes that don’t need to be remade

    • ariel

      Noomi has one of the most gorgeous bone structure ever and played Salander perfectly. Rooney, man…I almost missed her in the Social Network she is so bland and whitewash looking, borrrring. But I couldn’t believe her transformation as Salander and I find myself in shock that I loved her performance just as well as Noomi’s. It’s a crack about their names too..come one..Noomi, Rooney, what’s the chances, was that kinda staged, like Fincher with his last decision making on Rooney hadda say to himself we got to go with the noomirooneymoonie feel to this, huh? I love foreign films, tho if you know Swedish films they’re glum and depressing most of the time. I liked no LOVED Fincher’s movie BETTER. The soundtrack kicked my ass..gave me more respect for what Americans can do when they crank it out and go dark & serious. Rooney should keep the look I think. Killer job, academy award for sure. And Noomi, there’s no words for that beauty, kills me too. Just don’t get caught into boring girly roles like Sherlock Shit.

  • Jo Mama

    One question: WHY?

    It’s completely LAME to remake a movie and “Americanize” it – especially when it’s just two years after the first ORIGINAL version.

    ARTISTIC & CULTURAL RIP OFF!!! Come up with your own ideas Fincher.

    Gonna remake “Twilight” next? Whatever… BOOOOO TO YOU!!!!

  • Victoria

    WHAT? Noomi as Salander was fucking perfect, she is *somewhat* attractive. Like somewhat attractive isn’t HOLY-SHIT-YOU’RE-AMAZING, its a sideways glance, yeah I’d do that. and you know what I looked at lisbeth and was like you know what, I’d go there.

    See what i loved about the movies was it felt authentic. America makes things beautiful, not always a bad thing but Daniel Craig? As Blomkvist… really? Like come-on, I gave props to Lisbeth for getting on board because she just wanted to go for a ride, but with a man such as Daniel Craig you kind of have to seduce or be seduced by him at some stage.

    Mind you, Blomkvist is an arrogant, selfish womanizer, and a fair way up the thread someone was suggesting that Fincher wasn’t going to play up that FACT… oh man. not impressed, at all. We love Mikael because of determination to find the truth and chase a good story. But we kind of Hate him for his mind games with Lisbeth and Erika. No one is perfect and main characters have to have their demons, it makes them real.

    I paid close to full price for my blu-ray copies and with that said frankly a remake is just way too soon. Pretty poor form actually but if there is money to be made can you blame the copy cat?

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