Rooney Mara covers Vogue, in character as Lisbeth Salander: interesting or rough?


Rooney Mara covers the new issue of Vogue (on stands on Oct. 25), and much of the photo shoot does seem Girl With a Dragon Tattoo-themed. As I was reading the Vogue interview with Mara, however, I started to get mad. I couldn’t put my finger on why I was getting so upset, though – I think it’s a combination of things. First, I really liked the Swedish films, and fans of the books should definitely try them, because the adaptations are very faithful to the books. I also think Noomi Rapace did an amazing job as Lisbeth Salander, and I think she should get more credit for her work, her take on this now iconic character. It feels like Rooney Mara is getting so much credit for “getting the part” – when the part was already OWNED by a wonderful actress, Noomi. With this Vogue cover story – which isn’t just a profile of Rooney, it also features a lot of David Fincher – it feels like people are already over-hyping Rooney and the project before anyone knows if it’s any good. And I’m seriously worried about the film, as I’ve said before. You can read the full Vogue piece here, and here are some highlights:

Mara on the poster with her exposed breast: “There’s a certain way people are used to seeing nude women, and that’s in a submissive, coy pose, not looking at the camera,” Mara says. “And in this poster, I’m looking dead into the camera with no expression on my face.” She smiles and flicks a cigarette into the street. “I think it freaks a lot of people out.”

Fincher on adapting the books: “Look, there are parts of the book that I don’t love, and parts of it that make it a maddeningly difficult story to turn into a movie. We are walking in other people’s footsteps, and we have to be careful.” He is referring to the fact that a lot of people already love the Swedish film versions. “I am a contrarian by nature, so all it does is make me want to take real risks. I am like, ‘If we are not out on the ledge juggling chain saws, then we are doing ourselves a huge disservice.’ ”

Daniel Craig on Fincher and Mara’s mentor-protégée working relationship: “It’s f-cking weird!”

Fincher gives Mara permission to eat: When a waiter appears to take our order, we are all looking at our menus, but I see out of the corner of my eye Fincher nudging Mara. He says with quiet seriousness, “You can eat.” I look up to see her reaction. Mara rolls her eyes, and Fincher laughs. “You can have lettuce and a grape. A raisin if you must.” She orders a piece of fish and barely touches it. “One of the things that make our version that much more heartbreaking,” says Mara, “is that even though I am playing a 24-year-old, I look much younger. I look like a child.” I ask if she had to get unhealthily skinny for the role. She says, “Umm . . . not really.” “It hasn’t been too hard for her,” Fincher quickly adds.

Fincher on casting Rooney, and auditioning Scarlett Johansson: “I had seen a lot of actresses,” he says. “I was beginning to get to the point where I was thinking, Maybe conceptually you are talking about a person who doesn’t exist.” One day his casting director said, “What about Rooney?” He resisted at first. “I believe in casting people whose core—that essential personality you can’t beat out of them with a tire iron—has to work for the character.” He needed someone who was dissociated, antisocial—the exact opposite of Erica Albright. But when he saw Mara’s audition, he was “struck by how different it was from what I felt I already knew about her.” Meanwhile, Fincher was also screen-testing every conceivable Salander on the planet. “We flew in people from New Zealand and Swaziland and all over the place,” he says. “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.” He stops for a moment. “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 on her personal transformation: “Before, I dressed much girlier,” she says. “A lot of blush-colored things. Now I literally roll out of bed and put on whatever is there. I have really enjoyed being a boy this last year.” If it took a lot of work to make Mara look the part, in some ways she already possessed the right stuff. “I am very slow to warm,” Mara says. “I’ve always been sort of a loner. I didn’t play team sports. I am better one-on-one than in big groups.” This, she says, is one reason she gets the character. “I can understand wanting to be invisible and mistrusting people and wanting to understand everything before you engage with the world.”

Daniel Craig on Rooney: “I wish I’d had someone like David at Rooney’s age just to guide me and say what’s good and what’s bad. You don’t know at that age. You are full of confidence, but you are also full of huge insecurities.”

Mara on anticipation: Mara knows all too well she is breaking out at the very top. “Where do I go from here?” she says. “I’ve been trying to really live in the moment because I will never get this part of it back. As soon as the movie comes out, everyone will turn it into what they believe it is, so I’ve really been trying to appreciate every minute of now. Because I know what’s coming.” She is perhaps rightfully wary about the media circus that is sure to accompany the film’s release. “That kind of fame is not something I ever wanted for myself,” she says. “It just so happens that this huge, gigantic monster of a film came around that also happens to have the most incredible character that I ever could have dreamed up. But my fear with a movie like this is the kind of exposure you get from it. I think that can be death to an actor. The more people know about you, the less they can project who you are supposed to be. It’s unfortunate that you really only get one shot at that. After this, I won’t be able to be that girl again.”

[From Vogue]

I have to say, I want to think Mara is capable of playing this part, but I think if she falls flat, it’s not going to be her fault. It’s going to be David Fincher’s fault. Throughout the interview, there’s a lot of discussion of the violence and Fincher’s take on rape scene and who Lisbeth is as a woman, as a victim, as a moralist, and none of what he says inspires confidence in me. The genius of the Lisbeth character is that her physical and emotional strength is revealed in layers throughout the trilogy, and it’s those strengths that propel the story forward. It just seems like Fincher is more concerned with making a violent, sexy, stylized film than telling Lisbeth’s story, or doing justice to this amazing character.

See, I went through all of that and I didn’t even mention Rooney Mara’s bangs trauma.




Photos courtesy of Marcus Piggott & Mert Alas/Vogue, slideshow.

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51 Responses to “Rooney Mara covers Vogue, in character as Lisbeth Salander: interesting or rough?”

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  1. atlantapug says:

    I think she looks great, but is most definitely NOT in character on that cover.
    Lisbeth is pierced all over, and has much edgier hair.
    I really loved the books, and the Swedish films, however I do think Daniel Craig will be a much better Mikail Blomquist thanh the Swedish guy. He was as interesting as a piece of broccoli.

  2. Danziger says:

    Say what you say, I don’t even follow the books or have never read them, just seen the movies, but this woman looks interesting.

  3. Kaboom says:

    Too much fairy princess, too little ass kick.

  4. Sweetpea says:

    Noomi Rapace had bangs trauma as Lisbeth Salander, too. I think it goes with the character.

  5. Elizabeth S. says:

    I’m going to go see this, but my hopes are not high.

    From what I can see, Mara does not have the screen presence that Rapace did. And I have a sneaking fear that the film is going to either fall flat or overcompensate by laying out all Lisbeth’s cards from the very start.

    It’s not like the original films were even very deep. But I’m worried that this will turn into something awful.

  6. k says:

    What the F was all that about Fincher controlling her eating?

  7. Jennifer says:

    I’d rather re-watch the original Swedish version than go see the American version. Totally agree with you regarding Noomi Rapace who was awesome as Lisbeth.

  8. Maggie says:

    Clearly she’s not in character as Lisbeth. That’s just her hairstyle now because she’s filming the sequels. Lizbeth is tatted and pierced.

  9. keri says:

    That last pic is a reference to a painting of Ophelia. Why did Vogue have to ruin a good thing?

  10. Lindy says:

    Um, is anyone else freaked out by Fincher’s creepy, controlling behavior about her food?!! And that’s in front of an interviewer, too! He sounds like kind of a sick, controlling douche.

    And I loved the original movies, too (though the books got progressively less good in my opinion).

  11. marie says:

    also, thanks to this, cue scarlett j bitching about how’s she’s too sexy to get the roles she wants.

  12. Hollowdoll says:

    I doubt I’ll be seeing this. I like the original a lot and don’t much see the point.

  13. podzol says:

    @Lindy (10): I definitely was creeped out too. Actually I was turned off by the entire interview. Fincher and Mara sound like they have a peculiar Higgins/Doolittle mentor relationship for sure. I’m looking forward to TGWDT (great actors involved) even though I adored the Swedish version, but Craig and Mara’s offscreen personas rub me the wrong way bc they take themselves a tad too seriously.

  14. Tiffany S says:

    she’s beautiful, but i hope she has the chops to pull it off. she’s also giving me a major emily blunt vibe- am i the only one who sees it?

  15. Loq says:

    I’m so so sick of this chick getting hype even though she’s NEVER starred in a movie before. How the hell did she get a Vogue cover? What about someone like Emma Stone first?

    She and Fincher also seem really creepy and pretentious. The novels aren’t serious, they’re poorly written dramas with tons of misogyny issues.

  16. padiddle says:

    I was seriously weirded out by the eating thing. Is he being serious in that he gives her “permission” to eat, or was he making a joke because she already eats so little of her own accord?
    Either thing is worrying. I didn’t think she was spectacular in Social Network, and definitely didn’t think she was good in the Nightmare on Elm Street remake (but that was a disaster from the start)

  17. Talie says:

    Fincher’s a visual genius, so I’m glad he is adapting the books and not some lesser director. And as much as I loved the first part of the Swedish version, the follow-ups films looked budget and made-for-tv. Rooney seems like she will more closely mirror the Lisbeth in the books.

  18. kieslwoski says:

    I am a huge fan of David Fincher, but his interview is so creepy, his controlling Rooney’s eating?!?! and how grateful she is to David for his “guidence” that is just messed up!

  19. Feebee says:

    I liked the swedish versions and while I’ll see the upcoming take I’m a little worried it will look like the original will have been given a Vogue makeover… too slick looking.

    I agree with others in that she’s not in character as Lisbeth in Vogue. And if Lisbeth was a real person she sure as hell wouldn’t be doing Vogue if you know what I mean.

  20. Happy21 says:

    LOVED the books so much that regardless of how closely they follow I won’t watch any of the movies. I’d rather keep in my head the images I saw when reading them.

    Usually I’d at least give the movies a chance but I just can’t do it!

  21. layla says:

    I haven’t read the books – couldn’t get through the first two chapters.

    And I haven’t seen the original movies – again, couldn’t get through the first 5mins.

    But the Fincher version trailers are visually stunning, exciting and interesting. Doubt I’ll make it to the theatre thou…. Im really excited for the soundtrack thou!!

    And yes – total Emily Blunt vibe in these pics.

  22. Runs with Scissors says:

    “It just seems like Fincher is more concerned with making a violent, sexy, stylized film than telling Lisbeth’s story, or doing justice to this amazing character.”

    This is why I love you Kaiser.

    And for all the talk about how the actor has to BE the character inside. Lisbeth would have taken a fork to this fucker’s eye if he had infantilized her by trying to give her permission to eat.

    Fincher just doesn’t get women, much less this one.

    The original version nailed this character. Why re-make it at all?

    And more importantly, why the hell didn’t a WOMAN direct this?

  23. Crys737 says:

    The way Noomi Rapace worked it made it feel gritty and real. There was no glitz and glamour and none was necessary;it was all very raw. Honestly I see no reason for hollywood to shitwreck a book series that was already made into a great cinematic triology.

  24. Lairen says:

    Does anyone else think she kind of looks like Emily Blunt here?

  25. UKHels says:

    Noomi was fantastic – how can he say that he was starting to think the character couldn’t be cast?

    and daniel craig as Mikael – no thanks, terrible actor and doesn’t look right

    *sulks in corner*

  26. Reece says:

    She looks god but that’s not in character. That’s just the hair.

    I like people involved in this movie but, idk, I really loved the original so much. Noomi was awesome, right on it.
    I’m giving this a chance.

  27. Circe says:

    It’s those bangs that really piss me off.

  28. Original Chloe ) says:

    Before I continue to read: how ON EARTH could he audition the pouty booby I’m-so-sexeh ScarJo for that part.. I mean, did Jennifer Aniston audition too?

  29. LichiFruit says:

    @Original Chloe, right?!? Scar Jo would have had to have a boob redux to play Lisbeth Sanders. She is way too womanly for that character.

    I’ll be interested to see the film just because I loved the books…I do feel like it is pretty insulting to Swedish production that Hollywood had to re-make it so soon. It seems very arrogant. I know it’s a good story and all, but c’mon people. Get some original ideas already.

    RE: people’s comment about Fischer “allowing” Mara to eat, it sounds like she is really looking to him for guidance in this movie and wants to do well according to his vision. She admits she had to lose weight in order to look childlike and no doubt of her own accord. I agree it sounds creepy, but only because we are hearing it. There are many, many, producers out their who comment and criticize their actresses weight. I think the it dynamic sounds more healthy than many starlet-producer dynamics out there.

  30. Sassy says:

    Read all three books. Saw all three Swedish movies. Have no idea why anyone would want to remake the Swedish film. Very gritty and true to the books, which I enjoyed immensely. God, they drink a lot of coffee in Sweden.

  31. ds says:

    Ugh Kaiser, I’m with you on this one. Maybe it’s because I’m European that I was excited about the Swedish version, and I think they did a great job. To be honest I thought the Hollywood trailer looked like a lame copy/paste with slightly hotter actors. But that’s just what made it worse: Swedish casting was so good simply because they all looked and seemed so real, specially Erica who I expected to be so different and yet she turned out to be one of the best surprises… I’m so not gonna support box office, Fincher or not, just becuse Hollywood is so pathetic doing this.

  32. cindy says:

    I watched the Swedish films a year ago loved them so much I bought the books. Going to see this one (movie) to hope I’m not disappointed

  33. Crimson & Clover says:

    “That kind of fame is not something I ever wanted for myself” “But my fear with a movie like this is the kind of exposure you get from it. After this, I won’t be able to be that girl again.”

    I like Rooney Mara and I’m willing to see how she is in GWTDT, but I want to point out these comments. Kristen Stewart has been publicly flayed alive for saying the exact.same.thing.

    Just saying.

  34. Lila says:

    @Crimson and Clover. I know, there are certain people like her and Gwyneth that get it no matter what they say. However, what disturbed me about this article was the creepy relationship between Fincher and Rooney Mara. Even Lainey commented on it…It is just weird.

  35. Anna says:

    #15, Emma Stone? Really? I don’t care much for this movie seeing as I saw it already (the Swedish version) but I do think she deserves to be on the cover just for landing the role. Regardless of what anyone thinks of it this movie is going to be huge and once it comes out she’ll get more roles than Emma Stone. Emma is not as amazing as everyone seems to think. She’s charming but if her movie isn’t a comedy she just doesn’t bring it. Really, out of the two who do you think is most likely to win an Academy Award? Also, the amazing interview? The icing on the cake.

    I hate that a lot of people will never get to see Nooni play this character. I totally think they should re-release the movie so people can see it here. The upside is that if this one flops everyone will flock to see the original.

  36. kiki says:

    Eh, I refuse to believe the eating thing b/w Fincher & Mara is serious. If that’s an honest exchange then, ugh no. Fincher makes creepy/weird films, but is he creepy/weird himself too?

    I loved the Swedish film, got 2/3 through the book (sorry too long for my taste). I’m looking forward to Fincher’s take on it, & it can’t suck too bad if Trent Reznor is doing the music.

  37. Runs with Scissors says:

    @Crimson and Clover: “I like Rooney Mara and I’m willing to see how she is in GWTDT, but I want to point out these comments. Kristen Stewart has been publicly flayed alive for saying the exact.same.thing.

    Just saying.”

    TOTALLY. Thanks for pointing this out!

    @Chloe: “Before I continue to read: how ON EARTH could he audition the pouty booby I’m-so-sexeh ScarJo for that part.. I mean, did Jennifer Aniston audition too?”

    Awesome, lol!

    I think this in itself is what makes people so worried about Fincher’s take on this character. Who would bother auditioning Scarlet for a part like this? Slick and sexy and exploited (i.e. Hollywood’s version of a “strong woman”), is NOT who this character is.

    They already nailed these films. You can watch the originals on Netflix instant.

  38. Crimson & Clover says:

    @ Lila

    The Fincher/Mara dynamic could be creepy, yes, depending on how you read it. For me, it seemed more like a combination of a director protecting his investment and a person more experienced in Hollywood looking out for an inexperienced party. I think these machinations happen a lot but Fincher and Mara actually allowed us to see it, you know?

  39. Marianne says:

    I think the photo shoot is gorgeous!

  40. Victoria says:

    Her sister Kate is beyond gorgeous in a simple way.

  41. Jacqueline says:

    She has big shoes to fill. Noomi rocked that character! I’ve seen the 3 movies at least 3 times each.

  42. tooey says:

    I think this is going to be the equivalent of La Femme Nikita and Point of No Return. Bridget Fonda is lovely but she just didn’t have the gravitas, or presence as someone said, of the French actress who originated the role. She was a faint copy. La Femme Lite. I think that’s what this movie will be to those who have seen the Swedish version already. But most in the US didn’t, so they will probably be satisfied.

  43. Geetch says:

    Was this interview conducted during filming? I think the eating thing was more Fincher saying, “Don’t worry about dieting so you look the part, enjoy lunch,” and the grape and lettuce thing was a joke when he realized how odd that would sound to someone not on the production. If he was really creepy and controlling, he would have told Mara that she wasn’t allowed to eat before the reporter got there.

  44. Hm says:

    Foreign films aren’t better just because they’re foreign, lol. Noomi Rapace was too old and too large (not fat, just adult-sized) for the character described in the book. Rooney Mara fits the look of the character perfectly. No telling how the acting will be, but the other scenes from the remake also fit very well with what was described in the book.

  45. silkworm says:

    I thought the book itself was overhyped. Read the first part and thought it was meh. Salander annoys the hell out of me.

  46. T.C. says:

    Eating lunch at a cemetery, talking about how is a loner and never played team sports, no longer wears blush colored clothing? Girl is trying too hard to come across like she really is Lisbeth Salander in real life. You are an ACTRESS doll we know it’s not real, chillax. That Fincher joke about giving her permission to eat and her still not eating anything reminds me of a kid with her Dad. Still, I give it 4 more months before those two start doing the horizontal tangle if they haven’t already. I like the Vogue pics since at least this time she didn’t flash us her tits. We all have a pair sweetheart.

  47. hellnbackl says:

    HM I have to agree with you…..I was really dissapointed with the Swedish movie, Blomkvist was totally without charisma, Rooni too old and without an underlying elegance and fragility that Salander possess in the book, and I felt the movie lacked in someway perhaps because it was made for televison.I am really looking forward to Fincher’s interpretation!

  48. dunda says:

    The bits you get to see in the trailer are amazing. This cover is a promoshoot an not showing Lisbeth.

    Noomi Rapace was great as Lisbeth, her interpretation was marvelous, but it was well, just an interpretation. I love the book, liked the Swedish movies, both in cinema and the extended cut shown on TV here in early 2011, but it was NOT the Lisbeth I have imagined when reading the books. Noomi’s Lisbeth was badass and tough, even when showing her vulnerability she came across as kick ass. And she NEVER looked like a 14 year old boy, NOT ONCE.
    And as far as I’m concerned the other castings in the Swedish movies bored me to death.

  49. N.D. says:

    I wouldn’t call neithers books nor movies the masterpiece but at least books were engaging enough and the character stayed with me for awhile after I finished reading. Moves on the other hand were too bland to my taste. Didn’t like casting all that much either. Don’t know if Fincher will do better but I’m giving him a chance.

    This actress comes off as way too pretentious to my taste in this interview.

  50. Sarah says:

    Why are people judging this film when they’ve never even seen it?….

  51. brisheida says:

    please people stop judging this film to me ROONEY MARA is great for this character because of the way she looks on the pictures of her transformation of before and after “the girl with the dragon tattoo “please people just keep your RUDE AND JUDGI comments to your self’s if you don’t have something nice to say don’t say the way this pictures where done after they had done the movie..