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Scarlett Johansson (!) favored for U.S. remake of ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.’

August 16, 2010

Scarlett Johansson

I know its “ahhhcting, my boy,” and I’ve long since learned not to underestimate Hollywood’s capacity for magic, but doesn’t Scarlett Johansson strike you as just a little too lush and pampered for the tole of Lisbeth Salander?

Not to mention, too –er, um– womanly? Salander, after all, is a tough goth chick, a feral hacker savant, and I, for one, have always envisioned her as small and wiry and boyish.

More like Noomi Rapace, who plays the role in the Swedish films — although to be fair, Rapace, at 30 is a tad mature for Lisbeth, who is in her early 20s in the first book, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but who looks a decade younger.

In any event, Johansson delivered a knock-out audition, according to Frank DiGiacomo,  gossip columnist for the New York Daily News, who tastefully refers to the 26-year-old actress as “Scar-Jo.” (Stupid mash-up nicknames: One more reason to hate A-Rod and J-Lo.)

Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander

DiGiacomo reports that Johansson arrived at the audition with a “flawless” Swedish accent, impressing director David Fincher, whose previous literary adaptations range from Fight Club (yay!) to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (boo! hiss! blech!).

Fincher has “eliminated” the other established stars from his list, including Natalie Portman,

Lea Seydoux

Cary Mulligan and Ellen Page (one-time front runner Kristen Stewart is nowhere mentioned in recent reports) — all of whom would seem to look more the part than Johansson.

The director may still go with his first instinct, which was to cast a relative unknown (said to be leading candidates: Rooney Mara, Lea Seydoux, Sarah Snook, and Sophie Lowe. I’ve heard of none of these actresses, but their names come curiously from the same sections of the alphabet).

Sophie Lowe

No offense to Johansson, who’s proven her mettle in films like Ghost World, Lost in Translation and Vicky Cristina Barcelona (she’s been in a metric ton of stinkers, too), but I hope Fincher picks an unknown for such an iconic role. But I’m not betting the farm.

Whoever gets the part will star alongside Daniel Craig, already cast as crusading reporter Mikael Blomkvist. I wish Fincher had gone with a lesser known face here, too — someone like Kevin McKidd, if you wanted to go in one direction, or Timothy Olyphant if you wanted another, or, if you wanted to be really bold, Ray Winstone.

Rooney Mara

Craig’s a powerful presence on screen, but he brings all that James Bond baggage with him.

If it were up to me, I’d at least give Sarah Michelle Geller a screen test. Yes, she has that Buffy baggage, but that’s almost a decade past now. Her biggest drawback is her age. At 33, she could still play early 20s, but I’m not sure sure about early 20s looking 14.

So who would you cast as Lisbeth Salander? Get your nomination in quick — production is said to start right after Labor Day. Sounds like Fincher can

Sarah Snook

use all the good advice he can get.

Of course keep in mind that it probably won’t matter. Odds are, Hollywood’s going to mess this one up, just like it did with at least half the Harry Potter movies.

And based just on looks, because I’ve seen little of any of these unknown actresses, uh, acting, I’d say Rooney Mara. But I wouldn’t be happy about it.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. A-K87 permalink
    August 16, 2010 12:18 pm

    Chauncey, I agree 100%. Johansson is a talent but she is too gorgeously womanly, curvaceous and beautiful. You’ve picked an excellent picture which shows just how buxom she is!! I’m not going to pretend that I know much about Seydoux, Lowe, Snook and Mara but Ellen Page has been top of my list ever since I read the novel. Everything just fits together for her: height, boyish build, flat face, flat chest, diverse actress (see Juno, Whip It then watch The Tracy Fragments and Hard Candy.) and I can just see her giving Rapace a challenge.

    • Chauncey Mabe permalink*
      August 16, 2010 12:59 pm

      I agree. Ellen Page would be an excellent choice on all counts. I had my doubts — she seemed too soft–until I saw Hard Candy. Good lord. Keep that girl away from me…

      • Chauncey Mabe permalink*
        August 16, 2010 1:02 pm

        I think Thora Birch would be a good pick as well.

      • Erik permalink
        December 1, 2010 8:52 pm

        Thora Birch… um but isn’t she quite buxom too?

        Anyhow, if the actress is good, dye her hair black, add lots of make-up… uh and raise your gaze about half a meter… and it’ll be just fine… ;o)

        But if cup-size is cruicial… no acting will save the film anyway 😀

        Noomi played Lisbeth with a kind of awkwardness – I believe Scarlet had something similar going on in Lost in Translation (although I hated that movie)… perhaps that’s what they’re thinking about?

  2. Sean permalink
    August 16, 2010 1:13 pm

    Right off the bat, and based on the publicity still, I’d say Lea Seydoux looks the most like Salander as I pictured her, though with longer hair. You’re right about Johansson. She doesn’t bring franchise baggage like Craig but she is becoming one of those walking IMDB entries, where on-screen it’s like you’re watching a resume acquire, Borg-like, another screen credit. (See: Angelina Jolie, Jodie Foster, Tom Cruise, Will Smith, etc.)

    How about … Kate Beckinsale? Too poised.

    • Chauncey Mabe permalink*
      August 16, 2010 1:42 pm

      Kate’s way too old, although I’d pay to watch her kill things in such about any movie. Same with Mila Jovovovich (can’t wait until Resident Evil: Afterlife debuts Sept. 10 — there, I’ve confessed one of my most shameful enthusiasms. Does liking hot brunettes in vampire and zombie movies make me a bad man?). Lea Seydoux strikes me as too pretty, in a modelish kind of way, but if she can muster that ugly meanness you see in some of Noomi Rapace’s movie stills, I guess I’d be okay with it.

      • Sean permalink
        August 16, 2010 2:12 pm

        I’d only worry if you said ‘Ultraviolet’ was better than “Resident Evil.’

  3. Chauncey Mabe permalink*
    August 16, 2010 8:02 pm

    Nay. But I must confess I have seen Ultraviolet. Twice. Bad, bad movie. But Milla, good. Ultraviolet is almost as bad as Aeon Flux, which only had Charlize Theron, not a natural brunette.

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