Niels Arden Oplev, the Swedish director responsible for the original The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy of films, has some criticism to offer towards the currently shooting American adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s acclaimed novel — most notably the fact that there’s just no beating his Lisbeth Salander.
Speaking with Word & Film, the filmmaker said that he’s not bothered by director David Fincher’s adaptation in the slightest, except for the fact that “the Sony PR machine is trying to make their Lisbeth Salander the lead Lisbeth Salander.” From Oplev’s point of view, there is only one Lisbeth Salander, and that’s Swedish actress Noomi Rapace.
That’s highly unfair because Noomi has captured this part and it should always be all her. That’s her legacy in a way I can’t see anyone competing with. I hope she gets nominated for an Oscar. I know a lot of Academy members have seen the film and liked it because every time I go to LA I meet so many people who have seen my version of it. Even in Hollywood there seems to be a kind of anger about the remake, like, ‘Why would they remake something when they can just go see the original?’ Everybody who loves film will go see the original one. It’s like, what do you want to see, the French version of “La Femme Nikita” or the American one? You can hope that Fincher does a better job.
Oplev’s comments are strange to me, that Rapace is the only actress who can ever lay claim to Salander. Whether or not the Dragon Tattoo series stands the test of time is one thing, but Salander as a character is iconic, someone who rises above any one actor. Even though Rapace got there first, from a reader’s standpoint, American actress Rooney Mara physically fits the part better than the Swedish actress does. I’m not saying she’ll turn in a better performance necessarily, but there’s just no reason to believe that she can’t deliver something worthwhile. For Oplev to say that there’s only one person who can own a character like Lisbeth Salander… that just doesn’t ring true to me.
But what say you — do you think Noomi Rapace is the only one for Lisbeth Salander? Or do you believe that another actress, whether it’s Roony Mara or someone else who didn’t win the part, has the potential to create a wholly unique and deserving interpretation of the character?