Sunday, May 29, 2011

Rooney Mara...Can She Be The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo?

This morning I woke up to the news that the teaser trailer for David Fincher's version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had been leaked online, and I watched it in amazement. It looks as bad-ass as ever, even if the quality is a bit shonky because the trailer hasn't actually been released online. I must have watched the trailer about seven times today. There's just something about it which makes me very excited. But of course, any film made by David Fincher has the power to make me bloody excited.

Of course, the original Swedish version was a very good movie. The performances were all pitch perfect, the direction was tense and it was a very clever yet disturbing film. I actually preferred the film version to the book (mind you, I was rushed through that book and I have major troubles with reading). However, the biggest key to that films success was the amazing performance by Noomi Rapace. She was something new; an utterly fearless performance who was willing to put herself through just about anything to play the interesting role of Lisbeth Salander, a tortured, damaged girl who is also brave and intelligent. Noomi Rapace was so widely loved for her performances in the trilogy that many campaigned for her to reprise her role in the American version. She turned that opportunity down, and so Fincher went on a campaign to find his Lisbeth Salander, with early front-runners being young actresses like Carey Mulligan and Kristen Stewart, but yet, Fincher hadn't found his 'girl' yet.

Enter Rooney Mara. She had worked for Fincher before in The Social Network, but that remains as her only widely known flick. Sure, she was in A Nightmare on Elm Street, another remake, but it would be better if we just forget about that one, and also Youth in Revolt, which isn't widely regarded around here. Other than that, Mara was just as likely as any of the other candidates, but many disregarded her as she didn't seem like a true candidate because of her select filmography. However, it's like when David O. Selznick picked Vivien Leigh for the role of Scarlett O'Hara, he was taking a risk, and it paid off in the long run. We're yet to see if Fincher's risk will be worth it, but I think Rooney Mara will be beyond excellent in this film.

Now Lisbeth Salander is a role which isn't for the light-hearted. First of all, whoever is playing her must be prepared to put their appearance on the line. The hair has to go, and the short, uneven cut has to be died jet black. Piercings have to come in, wherever possible, especially around the face area. An already thin frame has to become even thinner, to the point that a scarecrow would be a similar figure. And you could probably forget about wearing pretty clothes. Black is the only likely candidate in a closet full of Salander clothes, and the accessories aren't exactly inviting either. Oh, and of course, as the title suggests Lisbeth has tattoos, a huge one of a dragon sprawled across her back, to be exact.

Then comes all of Lisbeth's problems. She has some less-than-gentle people surrounding her, including a dodgy guardian who believes that no deed goes unpunished. She distances herself as far away from the rest of the world as she can, hence the odd clothing and such. But she simply doesn't give a crap, because she won't change for anybody. She sleeps with whom she wants, when she wants, and won't give up without a fight. And boy, she can fight. She fights for herself. In fact, she is determined to do everything herself. If someone ticks her off, she'll get revenge, herself. Lisbeth is as tough as ever on the outside and the inside, and she's certainly not stupid, as she has more intelligence than she knows what to do with.

Lisbeth is undeniably one of the greatest female characters to pop up over the past few years, which is why she is such a coveted role. So, of course, the person who took the role had to be more than capable of carrying a film. When Rooney Mara was announced as the next girl with the dragon tattoo, people were sceptical over the choice. Was this because they felt that no-one but Noomi Rapace could fill the role? Or was it because they felt that Mara was too inexperienced to be handed a role as big and complex as this one?

Well, here here. First of all, at this point in time, I have trouble seeing anyone but Rapace in the role, because with those three films, she made Lisbeth entirely her own. While Mara is a very delicate and pretty looking girl, I think we can all see from the shoot she did a long time ago in Lisbeth mode that she has made a stunning transformation. She looks tough, less like a woman and as bad-ass as ever. The only thing that pisses me off is the fact that she doesn't have that beautiful long hair anymore, but sacrifices, right?

As for the inexperience problem, I feel as though if someone like Natalie Portman starred in it, it wouldn't be as surprising. Portman has starred in many films, and has built up a persona of being an innocent, sweet girl, which is far from what is required here. We all know what to expect from someone like her, and while the role would provide a great showcase for talent, that's not what makes this role special. What makes it special is someone who people barely even know to come in and have their own take on the character. Because, who says that someone inexperienced doesn't have talent? Sure, people get better as their careers go on, but people are born with talent. What they choose to do with that talent is entirely up to them. I thought Mara's performance in The Social Network was actually the best of the whole film, and if she can blow me away in three scenes, then what can she do with a whole movie? She'll be bad-ass, no matter what.

So basically, I think Rooney Mara's casting in this film is a stroke of genius. People don't really know what to expect from her...will she be a carbon copy of Noomi Rapace or bring the role into her own? But obviously, Mara is smart enough to know a good thing when she sees it, and I'm sure she'll do anything within her power to be awesome. Having the midas-like hands of David Fincher helping her along will only make it better.

So what do you think? Do you think Rooney Mara is a good fit for the role, or would you have preferred someone else? Also, are you looking forward to the remake?


  1. Actually, I don't even remember her from the social network... I wonder, which character she played...
    But judging from the pictures, she does look like a good choice...
    I haven't seen the swedish films yet, though, only read the books.

  2. Perfect casting! I think she has immense talent (evident in the opening scene of The Social Network). I watched that trailer too, and I think it looks awesome.

    Please let them only remake the first novel though. Its a great story ON ITS OWN. Judging by the Swedish originals, it can stand alone as a novel/film. The other two films were terrible, and I didn't like where the story went. I think Fincher has a shot at being in Oscar contention if he nails this film, without even worrying about adaptations of the other two!

    Great post as always!

  3. Judging from the trailer it almost looks like they've toned down Lisbeth a bit. I'm hoping that was just the editing, though I still can't see anyone but Rapace in the role.

  4. I actually just watched the Swedish version. It was good, but not great. Apart from the Salander character and the Nazi twist, I didn't think it brought anything new to the table. I haven't read the book, but god the Swedish and English actors look like copies of each other.
    This is definitely a story that someone like Fincher can create "feel-bad movie of Christmas" magic out of. And Mara is brilliant... So I definitely think the new one will be one hell of a thriller. CAN'T WAIT PEOPLE!!

  5. Lime(tte) - She was Erica Albright, Mark's girlfriend, who was in the amazing opening scene. I've seen all of the Swedish films, and read the first book. I should probably complete the series, but the first book didn't really impress me that much.

    Andy - Yeah, I reckon the first one is the only really great one. The second one was really disappointing and the third one was a bit 'meh'. I think that's because Mikael and Lisbeth are barely even together in those ones, and they work so well together. So yeah, Dragon Tattoo will be perfect by itself.

    Brittani - I think it was just the editing. I think they're trying to keep an element of surprise in there, because I think we'll be blown away by Rooney. But I, too, can't see anyone but Rapace in the role.

    Nikhat - I really enjoyed the first one, but I wouldn't call it a masterpiece.
    I'm sure Fincher will make this amazing. After all, is he capable of anything else? I cannot wait either!

  6. Nice post and good defend on Mara...however, I am with Brittani on this.I can't picture other actress as Lisbeth but Rapace.

    My answer to the question is NO,I don't feel like watching the remake as I have an allergy toward remake movies.

  7. I don't like remakes that much, but since David Fincher is doing this one, I guess I can make an exception :)

  8. This is one of the most unneccesary re-makes ever. I am adamant I won't see them as I can't understand the need after the Swedish versions have been so successful. I think Larsson will be turning in his grave knowing this was so.
    I personally think it is to placate the many ignorant lazy so and so's who can't be bothered reading sub-titles.
    I like Daniel Craig alot but I wish he'd stayed away from this.

  9. I definitely agree with Brent. Couldn't have said it better myself (especially since i'm a french speaker). Noomi will always be the one and only Lisbeth Salander <3

  10. I think she is suitable for the choice, she looks like what I imagine about Lisbeth.
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