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Posted at 9:04 AM ET, 01/13/2011

Rooney Mara: A closer look at her 'Dragon Tattoo' transformation

By Jen Chaney


This was Rooney Mara at the Sundance Film Festival back in 2009.

Got a fix on what she looked like there? Good.

Because if you proceed further into this blog post, you can see what she looks like after being Gothed-up and turned into Lisbeth Salander for David Fincher's version of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." Or at least, what she looks like in the role based on a photo spread in W Magazine.

(Image via W Magazine)

The newly released photos from the magazine's February issue show us a variety of angles on Mara in rough, tough, nose-ringed hacker mode, including this one of her getting her backside tatted up. They make a convincing case that Mara took this transformation seriously, and -- at least from a physical appearance perspective -- can pull it off.

For the record, this is how actress Noomi Rapace looked as Salander in the Swedish-film versions.

(Knut Koivisto)

Which one looks more the way you envisioned Salander in the books? Does Mara capture Lisbeth's style as convincingly as Rapace did? Or will you withhold judgment until you see Fincher's "Tattoo," which comes to theaters later this year?

By Jen Chaney  | January 13, 2011; 9:04 AM ET
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there's a little 'trying too hard/poser' thing going on there... but then hollywood has never gotten geek right. We'll see how she acts - it's a really tough role

Posted by: quintiliusvarus | January 13, 2011 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Since this is a fashion shoot, it's hard to say. But what bothers me is this quote from picture #4:

"Fincher’s film departs dramatically from the book: Mikael Blomkvist is more gentlemanly, Salander (shown here on the motorcycle from the movie) is more aggressive—and the ending has been completely altered. "

So this means I won't even bother. The Swedish film made some intelligent edits, but kept the jaw-dropping ending in place. What on earth is Fincher thinking?

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | January 13, 2011 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Mara looks like the highly stylized Hollywood version of what middle American moms are afraid their daughters will turn into when they fall into the wrong crowd rather than what a real life scruffy goth hacker would look like.

Posted by: MyPostEgo | January 13, 2011 10:29 AM | Report abuse

i dunno, I felt that the Sweedish Salander was a bit long in the tooth, but was truly excellent and believeable in the role.

The guy who played Blomkvist was also splendid.

I'll have to wait until the new version is released to make a good judgement.

Posted by: bmschumacher | January 13, 2011 10:58 AM | Report abuse

As another poster stated, it's difficult to say because this photo shoot has been so stylized. The real character would not have spent so much time perfecting her hair and makeup and making sure that her clothing fit just-so. She's a kind of "throw-it-on" and go person--effortlessly goth chic.

Posted by: amwatson1 | January 13, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

she's too big -the book character is a 4'1" waif of 85 pounds..hence men felt free to abuse her, not realizing she'd fight back.
They did the same thing with Mists of Avalon.. the tiny woman was played by Angelica Huston...all 6 foot of her

Posted by: newagent99 | January 13, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse


Did you mean 4'11"? That's the accepted height (150 cm = 59 inches).

Not a total geek - just remember diving for conversion tools when they gave her height and weight in metric ;)

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | January 13, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I agree that it's better that she's younger than Noomi - that lines up with the book better for me. Other than that, will withhold judgement due to stylization for photo shoot and the fact that how she acts will mean so much as others indicate. However, gut reactions to the changes in plot - No, No, No. I'll still watch the movie (and probably even at a theater), but I think it's a bad idea.

Posted by: Lizka | January 13, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Hollywood/Fincher will definitely have their work cutout for them to match the draw of the original Millennium film trilogy. Even with sub-titles, the films were gripping.

The "W" pictures of Rooney Mara look almost too hard. The Salander character is comfortable with the way she appears - both in the books and on screen. These photos seem intended to shock rather than intrigue.

Posted by: gvanderlek | January 13, 2011 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I haven't read the books but was blown away by Noomi Rapace's portrayal. In these pics, Rooney does look more like a skinny, fashion-y version of that character. I really liked that Rapace was muscular- I don't know how it jibes with the books but I thought that ripped look worked well. I'm going to have a harder time believing Mara Rooney has the strength to pull off some of the more physical stunts (like stringing her abusive guardian up and tattooing him against his will).

Posted by: rachelee1 | January 13, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

However she looks, I think the American films are going to have a long way to go to beat the Swedish versions. They were fantastic all the way around.

Posted by: jtsw | January 13, 2011 5:43 PM | Report abuse

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