According to David Fincher, the director of upcoming edgy mystery/thriller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Scarlett Johansson was simply too sexy for the part of edgy techno-goth heroine Lisbeth Salander. THR is reporting that Fincher said that Johansson was great when she tried out for the part, but it went to Rooney Mara because “she’s a great weirdo”.
Lisbeth Salander, the main character in Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s popular “Millennium Trilogy” (which includes The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest), is the type of woman who lives on the the fringes of society. She rides a motorcycle, has a multitude of piercings and tattoos, and wears mostly black; not one you want to mess with, especially if you’re a guy.
Fincher, hot off his Oscar-winning film The Social Network, is taking on some very different subject matter in his film adaptation of Stieg’s story. After flying in actresses from all over the world to cast the part, Fincher said Johansson tried out for the lead but was just too sexy. I guess if you have to lose a part, this is as good a reason as any.
Look, we saw some amazing people. Scarlett Johansson was great. It was a great audition, I’m telling you. But the thing with Scarlett is, you can’t wait for her to take her clothes off.
Fincher has some interesting ideas for the character of Lisbeth, saying that she should strike people kind of like E.T. did in the ’80s Steven Spielberg classic E.T.. The little alien wasn’t attractive, but audiences loved him.
I keep trying to explain this. Salander should be like E.T. If you put E.T. dolls out before anyone had seen the movie, they would say, ‘What is this little squishy thing?’. Well, you know what? When he hides under the table and he grabs the Reese’s Pieces, you love him! It has to be like that.
Mara took preparing for the role very seriously, and Fincher knew he had the right actress for the intense part when she first tested, and when she disappeared for awhile in Stockholm immersing herself in what it was to be Lisbeth Salander.
Oh, man. She’s a weirdo. She’s a great weirdo.
We got her an apartment in Stockholm and she kind of disappeared. She learned how to ride a motorcycle and got all of her piercings and tattoos. Also, I asked her to learn how to skateboard because you need to stand like a 13-year-old boy. I said, ‘I don’t want you to stand like a girl’.
Sounds like Mara takes method acting to a new level. But as the buzz for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo mounts, and given Fincher’s proven directorial talents, I think the physical transformation and the choice in actresses will pay off big time for the filmmakers.
I’m not surprised to hear Johansson tried out for a part like this. She might be enduring a certain amount of typecasting in Hollywood currently (after all, we are all waiting for her to take her clothes off), but Johansson does have some unique roles and indie films under her belt that prove she has some acting aspirations. She’s not just cashing in on her “sexy bombshell” label (and looks), but actually wants to prove herself on talent (though, sadly, I don’t think she’s done that yet).