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

     January 12, 2011

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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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