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Posted at 10:36 AM ET, 07/30/2010

Friday List: Who shouldn't play Lisbeth Salander in 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo'

By Paul Williams

The original "Girl," Noomi Rapace. (Knut Koivisto)

With Daniel Craig officially cast to play the male lead, Mikael Blomkvist, in the U.S. version of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," speculation continues about who will play opposite him in the role of Lisbeth Salander.

A pierced, bisexual, damaged and dangerous waif with a photographic memory and mad hacker skillz, Salander has become an iconic heroine during the past few years. The Stieg Larsson "Millennium Trilogy" books in which she originated have sold millions of copies. And Noomi Rapace's pitch-perfect portrayal of the character in the Swedish film adaptations have set the bar so high that the next actress is going to have to pole vault to reach it.

Rumors about who might get the part have been encouraging. Carey Mulligan has taken herself out of the running, but Ellen Page and Mia Wasikowska are considered to still be under, er, consideration. Rooney Mara, Emily Browning, Lea Seydoux and a pair of unknown Australian actresses also recently tested for the part.

While director David Fincher seems to be leaning toward less-marquee names, I can't help but feel some measure of concern. While Fincher has made some great films, he was a Gwyneth Paltrow early adopter, giving her one of her first big breaks in "Se7en," and he originally wanted Janeane Garofalo to play Marla Singer in "Fight Club." (And man would that have been a different movie.)

With that in mind, here are five terrible suggestions for the role and how Fincher and studio heads could talk themselves into each:


Megan Fox: "She's smoking hot, she locks up the 16-85-year-old male demographic, she gets tons of press. ... I mean -- hello! -- she's already got tattoos! I bet we can talk her into getting a dragon one or something!"

Kristen Stewart: "She's goth in a safe, Hot Topic kinda way. Kids love those 'Twilight' films, right?"

Zooey Deschanel: "I love her in 'Bones' -- she's got the emotionally detached, Asperger's-y thing down. Wait, what? That's her sister? This is the singing one? Oh, okay -- well, can we get any singing into the movie? Like with 'Glee'? The singing hacker or something?"


Helen Mirren: "This is going to be a classy movie. British people equal classy, am I right? I mean, she's a dame for crying out loud. And who says Lisbeth has to be younger? Maybe she's a cougar. Mirren brings in the 35-plus female audience. Oh, oh, or what about Streep? Is Streep available?"

Zach Galifianakis: "Work with me here people. Yes, yes it takes the film in a different direction. But he's red-hot right now -- he's in everything, he's kind of crazy and scary-looking. Thirteen-year-old boys love him. I say we get his name out there and see what happens."

Now that we've told you who shouldn't play Lisbeth, vote for who among the true contenders should play her:

Post interactivity producer Paul Williams has to remind himself it's not "Lisbeth Salamander" every time he says it.

By Paul Williams  | July 30, 2010; 10:36 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities, Friday Lists  
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I voted Natalie Portman in hopes that the script requires 'tasteful' nudity. Or at least as tasteful as a bondage anal rape scene can be.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 30, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Having just seen the Sweedish version of "Dragon Tattoo," both Natalie Portman and Ellen Page are likely strong enough actresses to perform the part - but both are likely unwilling to nudity required for the full impact of the role.

Portman's roles in "Closer" and "V for Vendetta" really show her chops.

On the other hand, "Lisbeth" might be the breakout role Ellen Page needs - she really did not add much to "Inception" in my view - but she has not really stretched dramatically in any of her performances I have seen to date.

Posted by: gvanderlek | July 30, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Emily Blunt.

Posted by: guin36 | July 30, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I've got a suggestion: why not Noomi Rapace? She was brilliant. I see no need for this movie to be remade.
And the list of who shouldn't place Lisbeth might include Kristen Chenowith, who's probably the right height.

Posted by: plderrick | July 30, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I don't know those two Australian actresses, but as a HUGE fan of the books and the Swedish movies I can't believe that Hollywood will do this series justice. My main reason being that they describe Lisbeth as autistic/asperger and she isn't.

So my vote would be for 'none of the above'

Posted by: lnw80050 | July 30, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Anybody but Zooey Deschanel. Mia Wasikowska could do it from the looks perspective. Ellen Page showed more in Inception (acting, not skin) than is indicated above or than I expected. In fact the plot Inception (and I am not giving anything away here) lends new meaning to the term "sleeping with" someone.

Posted by: reddragon1 | July 30, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I know


Wait, Liz is still gone. never mind.

Posted by: reddragon1 | July 30, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

@plderrick, I believe Rapace took herself out of the running, saying it was too tough a part to go through again.

Posted by: paujwill | July 30, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Audrey Tautou - she's a little old for it (in her 30s, I think), but she looks younger and is versatile.

Posted by: themegnapkin | July 30, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

yello, I think we can all agree that bondage anal rape scene with Natalie Portman would be orders of magnitude more tasteful than one with Zach Galifianakis.

Posted by: byoolin1 | July 30, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

How about Christina Ricci or Maggie Gyllenhaal?

Posted by: northgs | July 30, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

In the american version, the 4'10" 95 pound flat chested boyish looking salander will turn into a 5'10" to 6'3" busty blond that's needy for men.

look at what they did to Mists of Avalon.

Posted by: newagent99 | July 30, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

north, the basic problem is that anyone with the acting chops (like those you list) are too, how you say, old. And the cute young eye candy generally does not have in experience what it takes to pull this off. Unless we buy into newagent99's scenario, in which case Lilo could do it.

Posted by: reddragon1 | July 30, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I mean Anna Faris.

And Producer Paul, it's "Elizabetta Salamander."

Posted by: reddragon1 | July 30, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

That would take us deep into Pulp Fiction gimp territory.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 30, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm now nominating Christina Hendricks for all future female roles. And most male roles.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 30, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

yello, don't know if it works for agent 99, but "would you believe" it works for me.

Posted by: reddragon1 | July 30, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

When I read Inglorious Bastards, I thought it meant Melanie Laurent, who I think could actually be great. She's done angry, doesn't have a typical look, and can act. I don't know what her height is though, so maybe too tall.

Posted by: katiewashpost | July 30, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, I think they should just cast whoever nails the character. I don't know that any of the actresses on the list can play her effectively.

Remember - no one had heard of Edward Norton before "Primal Fear" and he was great as Aaron.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | July 30, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Actresses who are proven to be able to "get into" unique roles. I vote for Kate Winslet [so she is a bit older, she will make the movie], Keira Knightley [a push but it would be worth so many millions when it works], Christina Ricci [just wide and proven]. This movie must find committed actors who compeletely get into their parts and are led by courageous producers/directors. This story loses too much if it doesn't fully stay Swedish. I can't see an American adaptation working like Clueless is to Emma.

Posted by: Peter-Sarasota | July 31, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Missed an actress, Claire Danes has proven she can get into very different roles. Temple Grandin is clear proof.

Posted by: Peter-Sarasota | July 31, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Why on earth would they want to do a US version? The Swedish version is amazing and the US version will only suffer by comparison. I for one won't waste my money.

Posted by: jsc1731 | August 1, 2010 12:25 AM | Report abuse

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