Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

By now everyone is aware that Hollywood is remaking The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.   The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is an adaptation of the first book [Män som hatar kvinnor or Men Who Hate Women] of the best-selling “Millennium Trilogy” by late Swedish author Stieg Larsson. 

To be honest I'm not sure how I feel about this situation. I enjoyed Niels Arden Oplev's film starring Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace and thought that it was well done. Besides Hollywood does not have a very good track record when remaking foreign films, be it Stray Dogs [Stray Dogs], Le Femme Nikita [Point of No Return], One Missed Call [One Missed Call] or myriad of films ruined by greed and a lack of an intrinsic understanding of the original film. It is easy for films to be lost in translation but more often than not it is simple greed and a disregard of cultural nuances that lead to remakes failing.

That said there is some hope. The Social Networks director, David Fincher is directing the remake.  Fincher is a more than adequate director. Fincher has directed The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Zodiac (2007), Panic Room (2002), Fight Club (1999) Based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk, The Game (1997), Se7en (1995), and Alien 3 (1992). 

Fincher divides his work between “movies” and “films”—by his definition, a movie is overtly commercial, engineered for the sole pleasure of the audience. A film is conceived for the public and filmmakers: It is more audacious, more daring. By his reckoning, Fight Club and, especially, Zodiac (neither of which were box office successes) are films, while The Social Network (which is a box office smash—close to $100 million in America alone) is simply a movie. [David Fincher Gets The Girl, By Lynn Hirschberg, W Magazine]The Question I have is: will The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo  be a film or in the end simply a movie?

Fincher already has stirred up controversy regarding how faithful his film will be to Larsson's novel. "The script, which captures the novel's bleak tone, was written by Academy Award winner Steven Zaillian, who wrote Schindler's List, and it departs rather dramatically from the book," Fincher told W Magazine. "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." 

Interview Magazine 2009
Rooney Mara has been selected by Fincher to play Lisbeth Salander, the protagonist in the Millennium Trilogy. Rooney was considered Fincher's first choice in the process: the director had just helmed her in The Social Network. Closing the deal amounted to a formality, since Mara essentially agreed to terms when she and other young actresses signed on to tests that Fincher and producer Scott Rudin had conducted over several weeks. Interestingly, her deal included an option for two sequels that will cover The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest meaning that Mara is not a lock for the second and third film.

Several established actresses had been named as being in contention for the role -- Natalie Portman, who tried to buy the books early on, Ellen Page, who filmed her own test, Carey Mulligan as well as Scarlett Johansson. Fincher has focused his testing process on discovering an actress who fits Salander physically and in age proximity, which is early 20s. Mara was among a group of young actresses that included Alice In Wonderland star Mia Wasikowska, Sucker Punch's Emily Browning, even though neither actress signed test deals, Fish Tank's Katie Jarvis. Mara tested along with Sophie Lowe, Sarah Snook and French actress Lea Seydoux. 

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo comes to theaters December 21st, 2011 and stars Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Robin Wright, Stellan Skarsgård, Christopher Plummer, Joely Richardson, Yorick van Wageningen, Steven Berkoff.

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