The buzz surrounding David Fincher’s adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is incredibly high. This is due in large part to the popularity of the books, as well as the Sweden-produced film adaptations that followed their release. Fincher is a big part of the puzzle too, a top-shelf director who is flying even higher right now thanks to the success of The Social Network.
Rooney Mara’s casting as hacker protagonist Lisbeth Salander is also responsible for turning a lot of heads. Perhaps best known now for her role in The Social Network as Erica Albright, the college student who dumps Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and inadvertently sets him on a path that leads to the creation of Facebook. Mara, a lovely young woman with soft features and long, red hair, is not exactly the first person who comes to mind among those who are familiar with the rough-edged, pierced badass that is Lisbeth Salander.
A first look at the movie in the latest issue of W will surely put any concerns on that front to rest. Mara, pictured in character for the first time on the cover and in the related feature, has undergone a transformation. The already slight young girl shed a bunch of weight, looking like a byproduct of the “Heroin chic” fashion culture. Her cheeks are drawn in, her eyes are cocooned in black mascara, most of her hair has been lopped off and she accessorizes with piercings and tattoos. Hold the image up next to one of her as Erica Albright and you could be forgiven for thinking they are two different people. They might as well be.
I don’t think anyone really doubts Fincher’s abilities as a filmmaker, but this look at Mara in character ought to put any doubts about her casting to rest. I thought we were in for a great movie when I first read the news that Fincher was on board, and everything that’s surfaced since has only strengthened that belief.