Scarlett Johansson as Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? Rooney Mara Cleans up for Vogue
10.17.11 by Chris
Fans of the book (and the Swedish movie) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo know very well what Lisbeth Salander looks like. Author Stieg Larsson describes his heroine as a pale, anorexic young woman with short hair and a pierced nose and eyebrows, along with an assortment of tattoos, including that titular dragon tattoo on her left shoulder blade.
In David Fincher's upcoming adaptation of the books, Salander will be played by Rooney Mara. And after the world first saw Mara in full Salander regalia (short hair, tattoos, missing eyebrows), most critics were convinced she was right for the role. But could you imagine Scarlett Johansson in that role? Neither could we.
But that was a possibility, according to Fincher in an interview with Vogue when discussing the big task of casting the now iconic role.
We flew in people from New Zealand and Swaziland and all over the place. Look, we saw some amazing people. Scarlett Johansson was great. It was a great audition, I’m telling you. But the thing with Scarlett is, you can't wait for her to take her clothes off... I keep trying to explain this. Salander should be like E.T. If you put E.T. dolls out before anyone had seen the movie, they would say, "What is this little squishy thing?" Well, you know what? When he hides under the table and he grabs the Reese's Pieces, you love him! It has to be like that.
We think that's a compliment to Mara.
Carey Mulligan and Natalie Portman also reportedly auditioned for the role.
And if you haven't noticed yet, Mara cleaned up quite well for her photo shoot for Vogue. In the interview, Mara talks about shedding her co-ed image from The Social Network to play Salander.
Before, I dressed much girlier. A lot of blush-colored things. Now I literally roll out of bed and put on whatever is there. I have really enjoyed being a boy this last year... cut my hair, shaved the sides, bleached the eyebrows, then dyed my hair black. Then we went and did the piercings — all in one day. I went in looking like Erica Albright (her character from The Social Network) and I came out like this. The eyebrows were the biggest shock because that really changed my face, and I didn’t recognize myself. But I was fine because I knew it was going to be really helpful for getting into character.
Even with her transformation, Mara will have to step into some big shoes — Noomi Rapace's, who played Salander in the Swedish adaptations and who many thought should have reprised the role in the American remake. We won't know if Mara fully pulls off playing Salander until the movie hits theaters Dec. 21. Until then, we can look at Johansson and wonder what could have been.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was adapted by Steven Zaillian (Moneyball). Daniel Craig, Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgård, and Robin Wright co-star.