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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

April 1, 2010 at 11:21 AM

So, who should play Salander?

I read Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl Who Played With Fire” on the plane this past weekend, sitting next to a woman who was reading “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” — it felt a bit like a flying book club. Great sequel (thanks to all of you who recommended the series), and it got me thinking about the movie, both the fine Swedish version currently in theaters and the upcoming Hollywood remake. In case anyone else is wondering about the Swedish version of “The Girl Who Played with Fire,” I’m wondering too — the movie is finished, and has been released in some European countries, but no word yet on a U.S. release. It has the same principal cast as “Dragon Tattoo,” but, disappointingly, a different director and writer. I’ll keep you posted as I hear more.
(Update: Music Box Films contacted me and told me that the Swedish film versions of “The Girl Who Played With Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” will be in U.S. theaters this summer. Looking forward to seeing them . . .)
Word is that the American version will be directed by David Fincher (who has or has not signed on the dotted line, depending on which website you read), and this is good news: Think of how elegantly he paced “Zodiac,” which was a similar blend of psychological thriller and police procedural. I sympathize with those who question why this movie is being made, as the Swedish version is a very good one and most of us can manage to juggle subtitles and popcorn without passing out, but nonetheless it’s happening, so we may as well have a little fun with speculation. For Blomqvist, who do you think? Philip Seymour Hoffman? Jeremy Renner (who actually looks a bit like Michael Nyqvist, who plays the role in the Swedish movies)? Viggo Mortensen? And, even more fun, what about Lisbeth Salander? There’s plenty of buzz about Carey Mulligan, who says in interviews that she hasn’t been approached for the role but would love to play it (she’s a fan of the books). But Mulligan, gifted as she is, doesn’t seem quite right to me; in the few roles I’ve seen her in she’s always had a sweet quality that doesn’t fit Salander. (Doesn’t mean she couldn’t do it; just that I haven’t seen her in a role like it.) Kristen Stewart, also being mentioned for the role (Fincher cast her in her first major movie role, in “Panic Room”), looks the part but has always struck me as a limited performer and one who might have trouble with this complex character. (Again, doesn’t mean she couldn’t surprise me; I’m just speculating here.) Jodie Foster, 20 years ago, would have been exactly right.
So who else, among the limited list of skilled actresses who — as Salander is described at the beginning of the first book — are 24 but look 14? You tell me. In any case, the producers have their work cut out for them to find someone better in the role than Noomi Rapace, below. (Photo courtesy Music Box Films.)

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