David Fincher And His Lisbeth Salander Get the Full Lynn Hirschberg Treatment

In next month’s issue of W, Lynn Hirschberg tries to decipher why director David Fincher went with Rooney Mara to play Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Given that the movie is the first in “the biggest movie franchise since Harry Potter,” the audition process was bound to be contentious.

Comparisons end there, however. The scene that would-be Lisbeths had to read departs a bit from family friendly wizarding fare.

“We had five or six girls audition with the rape scene,” Fincher told W. “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.”

And in the end, the actress who most convincingly kicked a dildo up the guy’s ass was Rooney Mara.

The cover story, entitled “David Fincher Gets The Girl,” reveals the details that fans of the global sensation that is Steig Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy have been dying to hear for months. And, perhaps more importantly, the issue comes with big glossy pictures of Mara as Salander: Rooney with her jet-black hair weed-whacked off and spiked into an unruly mohawk; Rooney with a cigarette dangling from piercing-clad lips, bottomless and sprawled chest-down in a tattoo parlor, getting ink done; Rooney with her legs in tattered leggings akimbo across a motorcycle, eyes smeared with oil-hued eyeliner. One could say that Fincher made the right choice.

But while the film’s aesthetic pleasures may be confirmed, it remains to be seen whether it can deliver the dynamo entertainment the books apparently offers in spades. Even if things do look good on paper, Fincher and screenwriter Steve Zallian plan on diverging from the books and Swedish movies drastically.

[The script] 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.

Get ready for the intense fanbase backlash!

And naturally, Hirschberg gets in a few of her signature cutting jabs, those barbs that made her profile of M.I.A. so scathing. She quotes mega-producer Scott Rudin — Dragon Tattoo‘s producer, in fact — as saying Fincher has the same “fuck-off arrogance” as the Mark Zuckerberg character in The Social Network. And she paints the auteur accordingly: one anecdote has Fincher explaining that he divides into the categories of true “films” or simply little “movies.”

And what of The Social Network, Fincher’s best chance at a best director Oscar? “It’s a little glib to be a film,” he says. Let’s hope the Academy doesn’t read W!

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nfreeman [at] observer.com | @nfreeman1234 David Fincher And His Lisbeth Salander Get the Full Lynn Hirschberg Treatment