The Who2 Blog

How the Grinch Stole the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

A photo of Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander, with silly eye black

My heart shrank three sizes when I saw Sunday’s NY Times story about the new Hollywood version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and especially the accompanying photo of Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander.

Look, they don’t need to remake this movie.  It was already made beautifully and powerfully in 2009 by actual Swedes. The Swedes even shot it on location in Sweden, don’t you know. That film was so good that I saw it with two people who were huge fans of the original Stieg Larsson book, and I knew nothing about the book, and yet all of us came away deeply satisfied.
 
And Lisbeth Salander was memorably, memorably played by Noomi Rapace.  It’s pointless to copycat her performance. I guess they could also remake Casablanca now with Shia LaBeouf in the Humphrey Bogart role, but… c’mon.
 
That photo of Ms. Mara confirms anyone’s worst fears that the movie will be dumbed down and steroided up for the alleged needs of we Americans. How goth is Lisbeth Salander? She’s wearing a razor blade on a chain, THAT’S how goth she is.
 
Top that!  
 
And that Edward Scissorhands smudge-stick around her eyes… oh, please. Really? If Columbia Pictures had been alert enough they could have arranged a Tim Tebow tie-in by having Rooney Mara scratch Aleister Crowley verses into all that eye black, just to make it clear how goth she is. (Or maybe chapter and verse from The Hacker’s Handbook, in case we dumb Americans need it spelled out that Lisbeth… Is… A… Great… Computer… Expert.) 
 
Even if you insist on the eye black, it’s clear that Lisbeth Salander would never spend 45 minutes in front of the mirror every morning, carefully blending L’Oreal Black Rose blusher around her eye sockets in the way they’ve dolled up Rooney Mara there. With that much attention to cosmetics, she might as well be on her way to pour tea for the Uppsala Junior League.
 
Pshaw.
 
Look, props to David Fincher, who can make movies. The Social Network was terrific. But he’s just in the wrong on this one. A remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is not needed, not wanted, and simply can’t be better than the Swedish originals.
 
The Grinch here is Hollywood, is what I’m saying, and if you like I will spell that out in heavy mascara. On your stomach.
The original: Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander
The Times also ran a nifty Sunday profile of Noomi Rapace, the real Lisbeth Salander, which included this story about how she ended her relationship with the character:
On the last day of shooting the trilogy’s concluding film, “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,” when producers arrived with Champagne, Ms. Rapace ran to the bathroom and vomited. “I was throwing up for 45 minutes,” she said. “I couldn’t stand. It was so clearly my body throwing Lisbeth out.”
 
“‘God, get out!,'” she suddenly shouted, laughing raucously as she recalled the spontaneous exorcism.
Good luck topping that, Rooney Mara.
 
Advice: skip the new movie, Netflix the original Swedish trilogy, and see the real deal.
 
 
 
 
 

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