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-By Toni-Marie Ippolito
(Reprinted from Tribute Magazine‘s Nov/December issue)
Adapting a best-selling book for the big screen is no easy feat. In fact, directors and actors are up against tough crowds wondering whether or not they’ll measure up. This is definitely the case when it comes to Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s thrilling The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series.
If you’re a fan of the books you have already got a jump on things movie-wise if you saw the Swedish trilogy with subtitles (starring Noomi Rapace); and you also know that each film did not disappoint. Not only are they filled with mystery and intrigue; they’re also notorious for their shockingly violent scenes — especially a rape scene involving its heroine Lisbeth Salander that will have you flinching for days.
But could an Americanized version handle the sexual violence played out on the big screen as it did in the Swedish version? Hold on to your hats, because the word is that director David Fincher (Fight Club, Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) is not holding back. In fact, he plans on making it even fiercer, according to Daniel Craig. “It’s as adult as you can possibly make it. This is adult drama,” Craig, who stars as Mikael Blomkvist, told Esquire. “I grew up, as we all did, watching The Godfather and movies that were made for adults. And this is a $100 million R-rated movie. Nobody makes those anymore. And Fincher, he’s not holding back. They’ve given him free rein. He showed me some scenes recently, and my hand was over my mouth, going, ‘Are you f***ing serious?’”
In the this remake, Daniel Craig plays the role of Mikael, who, after being wrongly convicted in a case involving allegations about a billionaire industrialist and sentenced to three months in prison, sets out to redeem his tarnished reputation by solving the mystery of a missing girl from an influential family. He is joined by professional hacker Lisbeth, who has her own agenda for helping solve the case.
Fans seemed easily accepting of Craig for the part, but many wondered if newcomer Rooney Mara (The Social Network) would hold up against Rapace’s superb take on the character. “She’s been compromised. She’s been subjugated. She’s been marginalized. She’s been swept into the gutter and she’s had a part in it,” Fincher told Empire Magazine about Mara’s character. “She dresses like trash because she’s someone who has been betrayed and hurt so badly by forces beyond her control that she’s just decided to be refuse. She can sit anywhere she wants on the bus, because nobody wants to deal with her.”
When pictures of Mara’s daring transformation into Lisbeth were leaked online, excitement was aroused. However, it wasn’t that easy for Mara to convince Fincher. “I was just super-frustrated. I was like, ‘You have to decide,’” Mara told Entertainment Weekly about convincing the director. “‘Either you think I’m the girl or you don’t. There’s not much more I can do to prove it to you.’ I went in sort of ready to fight. I was pissed. But David sat me down and gave me this long speech about the part. Then he handed me his iPad, and it had the press release on it [announcing she was the one]. He said, ‘I’m prepared to send this out. You have half an hour to let me know if you want the part.’”
Knowing what she was up against, and that she was to film a daring rape scene, didn’t faze Mara. “It was incredibly intense. We did it all in a week – the week of Valentine’s Day, oddly enough. We were working 16 hours a day, and it was really, really challenging, not just emotionally but physically. But it’s such an important scene. We wanted to do everything we could to get it right,” Mara told Entertainment Weekly.
– By Toni-Marie Ippolito