Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Imagine if Scarlet O'Hara Were a Tattooed Hacker With A Social Disorder

The search for the actress who was going to play Scarlet O'Hara in Gone With the Wind was so highly scrutinized that it has become the benchmark for scouring the earth for that perfect actor. Everyone wanted that role. Thousands of women auditioned.

Now, there's a role that's shaping up to be almost as sought after. The role of Lisabeth Salander in David Fincher's upcoming adaptation of Stieg Larsson's mega-selling Millennium series of novels. Fincher is directing the film version of The Girl With the Dragoon Tattoo. Salander has been widely praised as one of the most original and compelling central characters in recent literature. The three novels have already been filmed in their native Sweden, with Noomi Rapace taking on the role to great acclaim.

Now, for the American version, director David Fincher and the studio have already confirmed Daniel Craig in the lead role of Mikael Blomkvist, but Salander is the flashy role. Everyone from Ellen Page to Keira Knightley to Carey Mulligan to Kirsten Stewart were rumoured to be considered and/or actively pursuing the coveted part. Pretty much every young actress even remotely in the age range were hungry for it. Fincher reportedly offered the role to Natalie Portman, who turned it down.

Now, according to EW, the main contenders seem to be four largely unknown young actresses, who we'll look at below:

Sophie Lowe is an Australian actress that has done a number of high-profile roles down under but is pretty much completely unknown here in North America. She seems a little soft to me, but make-up and a haircut would probably take care of that.

Sarah Snook is also Australian, and has even less experience than Sophie Lowe, mainly on the stage. She's definitely got an edge to her, which whoever plays Salander would need in spades.

Rooney Mara is the sole American on this list, and the one probably most known to American audiences, with roles in Youth in Revolt and the recent remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. She's also recently worked with Fincher, with a role in his upcoming film The Social Network. That could be a plus or a minus depending on how he feels about working with actors back to back.

Finally, there's French actress Lea Seydoux, who most recently appeared in Ridley Scott's terrible film Robin Hood (but she was quite good) and in Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. She's got a good look for the role, as well, but that could just be because she's French.

I'm glad that Fincher seems to be leaning more towards an unknown for the role. I think that's kind of vital, as Salander is largely a mystery, and a movie star brings all sorts of baggage to roles that can be hard to ditch. It's an extreme role, and one that, done well, will make a big star out of the actress who plays her. Fincher is absolutely the right choice for the role, and his recent announcement to retain the Swedish setting shows an understanding of a major component of the books. Fincher said of the setting while at Comic-Con:

Stockholm. Uppsala. In the north. You have to. What, are you going to put it in Seattle?

I'm in the midst of reading the books right now, and they're some of the most fascinating detective fiction I've read since James Ellroy came on the scene. Check them out!

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