Rooney Mara shows off her Lisbeth Salander transformation in W Mag


This is the cover of the February issue of W Magazine – that is Rooney Mara, in character as Lisbeth Salander, the heroine of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (and the Millennium Trilogy). Rooney was chosen to play Salander by David Fincher, who is currently directing the Dragon Tattoo, with Daniel Craig starring as Mikael Blomkvist. Personally, I would love to see a little Daniel Craig action in these photos, but I get it. They want to begin rolling out the English-language interpretation of these films. I’ve watched the first two Swedish-language ones, starring Noomi Rapace as Salander… and I just have to say, Rooney Mara has some big shoes to fill. Noomi is awesome. Anyway, the full W Magazine article accompanying the photos (full piece here) is mostly about Fincher, and his interpretation of the books. Here’s a taste:

On a dark, icy afternoon in late November, director David Fincher was in a photo studio in Stockholm adjusting blood. The blood, which was of course fake, covered the hands of a young actress named Rooney Mara, but to Fincher’s mind, which is prone to reimagining reality in cinematic terms, the bloody hands belonged to Lisbeth Salander, the heroine of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Salander—an androgynous, bisexual computer hacker with multiple piercings and a distinctive tattoo on her back—is the complicated star of Stieg Larsson’s “Millennium” series, a trio of novels that have sold more than 50 million (and counting) copies worldwide. Larsson described Salander in opposites: slender but tough, “spidery” but elegant. Fincher, who is directing the American movie version of the first book in the series, has taken that gamine, biker-chick, downtown-girl template and tweaked it. Now she’s his.

The transformation began with the hair. Mara’s long brown mane was dyed black and cut in a series of jagged points that looked as if she had chopped it herself with a dull razor. The bangs were cropped very short and uneven, and the rest of the hair was layered into an extended shag. The final result was a mash-up of brazen Seventies punk and spooky Eighties goth with a dash of S&M temptress. That look, which could also describe Salander’s nature, was echoed in her wardrobe—a collection of ripped stockings, low garter belts, skintight leather, and heavy-soled boots. In all the angry, attractive darkness, Mara, who is 25, lithe, and petite, radiated an intriguing mix of menace and vulnerability. Fincher’s Lisbeth Salander, as channeled by Mara, is unique—a brilliant but childlike avenging angel with an understanding and an appreciation of violence. In essence, she’s a lot like her creator, David Fincher.

“I think we need more blood,” Fincher said as he stared at Mara’s outstretched hands. Fincher, who is tall and looks like an outdoorsy grad student, was dressed in jeans and winter hiking fleece to combat the chill. Like all great directors, he has a God complex, a need to create people and worlds. Those fully realized realms (which masquerade as movies) are intricate, built to exacting standards, and replete with highly developed personalities that particularly intrigue Fincher. In such films as Se7en, Fight Club, and Zodiac, Fincher masterminded parallel universes filled with violence, decay, and obsession. In The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which he characterizes as “a grand romance about death,” he invented a land where a man aged backward. And more recently, in The Social Network, Fincher took a “true” story about Mark Zuckerberg and the founding of Facebook and transformed it into a multilayered microcosm oof great ambition and lost friendship—a parable, like most of Fincher’s films, about America and the times in which we live.

[From W Magazine]

Wouldn’t it be funny if Fincher’s most famous and respected work was The Social Network, by all accounts the least “Fincher-esque” film he’s ever made? It would be interesting. That being said, I love Fincher. I think he’s very underrated, probably because he’s dark and he likes dark subject matter that veers into horror and cult. Earlier this year, I saw Zodiac for the first time, and I was blown away by Fincher’s taut craftsmanship of a true story without an “all neatly wrapped up” conclusion (incidentally, Zodiac features one of Mark Ruffalo’s and one of Jake Gyllenhaal’s best performances ever, in my opinion).

Anyway, I have high hopes for Fincher’s version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The Swedish language one is… really, really good. I made my mother watch it, and she nearly had a heart attack she was so scared and freaked out.


W Magazine cover courtesy of Rooney’s fansite. Additional pic courtesy of W Magazine.

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44 Responses to “Rooney Mara shows off her Lisbeth Salander transformation in W Mag”

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  1. Sophie says:

    I think she looks amazing, I think she’s going to be really good! I was disappointed in the Swedish adaptations even though I thought Noomi Rapace was excellent. I LOVE Fincher though so I cannot wait to see this!!!

  2. Kaye says:

    Noomi Rapace is mesmerizing in those films (and, Kaiser, the third one will be available for streaming on 01/25). I saw a picture of her in “real life” and I didn’t recognize her. She was smiling and beautiful, completely feminine.

  3. KLO says:


  4. Anna says:

    ugh, put it away.

  5. Johnny Depp's Girl says:

    Interested in seeing this movie.

  6. Aria says:

    I still don’t get why Hollywood has to do the remake. The original one was outstanding. There was no reason to go for an american version.BTW, Rooney looks exactly like the other actress…I won’t see the remake

  7. Newyorking says:

    I hate it when Hollywood remakes other country movies. There is way too much attitude and not as much substance in Hollywood. I totally avoid them. Whatever.

  8. Helle says:

    I just wish they hadn’t changed the title, but translated it directly to “men who hate women”. because that’s what it is…

  9. bros says:

    I got through 4 pages of that article and had to stop because I didnt see how it could get any farther up Fincher’s ass. I dont know why the article was fawning over him when this thing basically fell into his lap and the stories are so good he would have to be a one eyed geriatric baboon to mess these up. how lucky can you get? even if they suck they still will be successful, simply because of the books’ wide readership and fans. he even has a template in the swedish movies to see what he wants to avoid or emulate. what an annoying article.

  10. Twez says:

    Hollywood remakes foreign movies for the same reason that other countries remake Hollywood movies. The vast majority of people prefer to see a movie in their own language. Subtitled or dubbed movies absolutely will not make the money that an original language movie will. Some theatres won’t even book in a subtitled movie because of all the idiots who buy tickets and then march out for a refund when they see that they have to read.

  11. Solveig says:

    Kaiser, do you really think that Fincher is underrated? I have the opposite opinion, and many of my film buffs friends think the same.
    I really loved Se7en and Fight Club (wich are the only movies where I can stand Brad Pitt), but the rest of his filmography is quite average, and sometimes most of his movies leave me feeling incompleteness.
    Anyway, I’m not interested in this movie, although probably he’s the best HW director who can handle a remake like this.

    @Twez, umh, I don’t see other countries remaking American movies. In fact, in Italy, France, Spain, Germany and in Russian-speaking countries the movies are dubbed, sometimes with great results, other times…

  12. Nanz says:

    So excited about this movie! I love the books. I’ve been on the fence about seeing the original movie because I’m afraid seeing it will ruin me for the English version. I may have to see the original now.

  13. womanfromthenorth says:

    I thought it was Jonny Weir(SP?) the skater…lol

  14. VV says:

    Totally lame. This girl is soooo squeaky clean. Throwing a bit of blood, ink and some piercings on her isn’t going to change that…ugh and that tat picture with the cigarette, forced much?

    The original movie was all kinds of awesome, I enjoyed it immensely even with subtitles. I really liked the Swedish language and I think the cast was pretty well rounded and believable.

    I will not waste my time on the Hollow-wood version.

  15. mln76 says:

    I love David Fincher. I actually gasped at the end of the Social Network eventhough no one got shot, killed etc because the movie was so well crafted,directed,acted (with the exception of JT) etc. I really think it’s going to win Best Picture. I haven’t seen the Millenium Trilogy yet because I am trying to forget the books enough to watch the movies. I will say in general there is nothing wrong with a GOOD remake, but terrible ones are evil. And the story is right up Finchers alley.

  16. manda says:

    I love Noomi! From these pics, it at least looks like Rooney can look the part, but I think it will be weird to hear their characters speaking English.

  17. melina says:

    I agree with Solveig. I like Fincher and most of his films but there is no way he is underrated. I think the audience and the critics like and respect him. Maybe Kaiser was talking about major awards? I think until now he’s only been nominated for Benjamin Button, his weakest film, in my opinion.

  18. justathought says:

    The original movies starring Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth are awesome and that trilogy’s last film will be released soon. Why the repetition so soon? Smells like old socks.

  19. Scarlet Vixen says:

    @Twez: You’re right. Americans are inherently lazy when it comes to movie watching and therefore more often than not will either wait for the English version or skip a movie altogether. Working in a video store for over 7yrs taught me that alot of Americans are lazy (and not that bright-lol). Hell, when the dvd format first came out we constantly had people bitching about widescreen vs full frame (those black bars are SO distracting!). But I digress. :-)

    @Solveig: Other countries do remake American films. They may put their own spin on it and adapt it to be more culturally accurate so it’s not an exact replica, but it happens. For example, China just remade the Coen brothers’ film ‘Blood Simple’ (they changed the title to something about a woman and noodles). They’ve also remade ‘High School Musical’ and ‘Ghost.’ Russia remade ’12 Angry Men.’ Japan has done ‘What Women Want,’ ‘Sideways’ and are apparently working on a remake of ‘Working Girls.’ Again, Americans are just so involved in their own film-making they don’t bother to pay attention.

  20. Bodhi says:

    I am SO EXCITED for this!! Rooney looks like she’d rip your face off, just I want in a Lisbeth!

  21. Laura says:

    I saw her in something recently, and while I thought she was good, and pretty in a weird way, she doesn’t move her mouth at all and mumbles when she talks. Oh well.

  22. Kate says:

    My problem in watching a movie with subtitles is that I have to read the screen at the expense of missing nuances in an actor’s expression or movement. I went to see Dragon Tatoo twice – once I focused on the subtitles, and the second time I was able to focus on the screen and pay attention to the actors.

  23. Kate says:

    I´m also annoyed by this remake… I´ve seen the whole swedish version of Millenium trilogy and it was very good. The actors did good job.

  24. GirlyGirl says:

    Man, Hollywood’s going to bone this…

    really really badly…

  25. Ponytail says:

    Kate, maybe this will disappear after watching more sub-titled films ? I don’t really notice any more, though I do dislike sub-titled films when I’m trying to finish off a knitting or crochet project !

  26. December says:

    Everytime American does a remake of a foreign movie, they tend to dumb it down and try to appeal to the younger masses, which is an EPIC fail, all so they can try to sell more movie tickets. >.<

  27. The Truth Fairy says:

    Remind me again why they feel the need to remake this movie instead of just releasing it in the US with English subtitles????

  28. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    This is why I hate most magazines, I mean, are we richer for having endured that circle jerk? Oh, W-anity Rolling Vogue-lo, put that transparent self-mythologizing away, it’s lavishly disingenuous. You want reknown? Here’s a challenge: write your own movies for three months. If you haven’t died of toxic shock or anything, then yes, yes you can keep England.

  29. Franny says:

    I’m disappointed in the portrayal of Lisbeth in these pictures and in print. She would never wear “skin tight leather and garter belts” and she wouldn’t put on a full face of goth make up. she doesn’t care what she looks like (why people think she looks so young…not raccoon eyes!). i think its taking it too far and it will overshadow who she really is.

  30. Camille says:

    That is going to be one bitch of a haircut to grow out. :lol:

    I am kind of looking forward to seeing these remakes. And I normally HATE remakes of anything.

  31. Solveig says:

    @Scarlet Vixen, I’m curious to see the Chinese remake of Blood Simple! Yes, foreign countries do remakes of American movies, but the remake “thing” is in general mostly an American tradition. And above all, as you say, those remakes aren’t exact replicas but something that fits better the culture of the country where the remake is done.
    In any case, I meant that in some countries the remakes aren’t due to the different languages and laziness in reading the subs as Twez said, because in those countries dubbing is commonly used.

  32. Erin says:

    Absolutely LOVED the original Swedish movies and I just put the dubs on. And I’m American and I love foreign films so not all Americans are lazy and uncultured.
    I personally won’t go see the remake probably because it couldn’t possibly get any better – acting wise – than the original

  33. Buckley says:

    Personally, she is totally working for me as Lisbeth.

  34. kelly says:

    I thought Seven was disgusting, and I have a cast iron stomach for gore etc, believe me. Pointless, horrible exploitative garbage; the scene where the trick describes fucking a hooker to death with a strap on knife- can anyone justify that hateful shit under any circumstances? It’s artistry escapes my grasp. Pathetically misogynistic. Hey, but everyone seems to think it’s totally awesome so maybe Im mistaken.

    Fightclub was better (what isn’t?) but gutless; I was expecting something more ironic, a little more hardcore. I know, from a mainstream film, yeah yeah, stupid me.

    It’s typical of white male writers and directors to rip off a female subculture they don’t understand and then denature the character by making her seem mentally unstable or defective so that their suburban readership won’t be offended. Shows like CSI et al use the same voyeuristic tactic; use punks, goths, S&M etc to attract your gawking audience but keep the characters dead/defective/culpable as per the cosy vanilla view of such things. Lame as fuck.

  35. Jodi says:

    I have seen all three movies and to be honest this is an outrage. While David Fincher is a great director, this endeavor shows me that Hollywood is out of original ideas. There is no way the American version of this trilogy can hold a candle to the original. I won’t be watching this.

  36. LBeees says:

    No way can the re-make come close to touching the original. For those of you who are afraid of subtitles, don’t be! I believe in your ability to read.

    Seriously though, the original was frakking AWSOME. Serious, sexual, edgy, beautiful. Watch it!

  37. Mikunda says:

    Gosh, the millennium trilogy is so dark, I shudder…

  38. hatsumomo says:

    Im not digging the pics. To me, this Lisbeth just looks so ‘sexual’. Like she is phoning in the goth look and thong-over-her tights to look sexy and be see and interpreted that way. The Lisbeth I have come to love is a sexual abuse survivor, she could really care less about being sexy than more about righting the wrongs against her. To me thats what made Lisbeth so damn good, she dressed ‘tough’ to present a facade to strangers to put them off, while wily hiding her intelligence. The American Lisbeth seems like her ‘fashion’ is all she has going for her. But who knows, it still to early to really judge the depth of this Lisbeth, Im just not going to hold my breathe.

  39. Feebee says:

    Having read the books and seen the movies, I have to agree with some of the comments over Mara’s Lisbeth “look”. She doesn’t look like she’s owning it. Noomi Rapace totally enveloped herself as Lisbeth. Then again, I’ve seen Noomi be Lisbeth and not yet Rooney Mara so I will see the movie. Another reason to see the movie is because as much as I enjoyed the originals I’m sure reading subtitles sometimes hampers your ability to read the subtleties in the actor be it tone or facial expression and in the last movie I know they “condensed” a least a few lines. So now I’m wondering what I missed, though having read the books understandably I know they always have to leave out stuff anyway.

    Don’t have an opinion on Fincher but am willing to see the movie and be entertained/freaked out etc if only by Daniel Craig but hoping for Rooney Mara to come through also.

  40. Sally says:

    Supposedly the ending of the new version has been completely changed from that in the book..

  41. phlyfiremama says:

    Oh, I can’t wait! This movie is going to be soooo good. The first 3 movies were awesome, the books read themselves practically, and rooney already has the physical look nailed down. She got her lip, nose, and nipple pierced all in the same day JUST to be Lizbeth for this movie. It will be EPIC! I’m calling “Oscar contender” for next year right now…

  42. ViktoryGin says:

    Damn, guys. At least give the movie a fighting chance. You won’t know it’ll be shit until you see it and actually decide that it’s shit. Yes, Hollywood has a way of moralizing and over-stylizing to contrivance perfectly good material, but we don’t know, yet. Do we?

    Moreover, it’s a photo shoot for a magazine. It’s supposed to be stylized in this case. These aren’t movie stills.

    And may I remind an above poster who claims that Salander doesn’t care what she looks like that that statement is not entirely true. Recall that she gets breast implants in the second book in order to feminize herself.

  43. Wasp says:

    From my point of view Noomi Rapace is and ever will be the one and only prototype for Salander… She was absolutelly amazing and mind-blowing in Millenium thrillogy films. That energy and attitude- everything was exactly as I imagined. It’s not possible for Rooney to create a brand new Lisbeth- because it was Rapace who BECAME Lisbeth…