Of all the potential Oscar heavyhitters, none remains a more tantalizing X-factor than David Fincher‘s “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” Based on a novel by Stieg Larsson beloved by literary enthusiasts and book clubs the nation over, it has a reasonably large chance of being a box office titan and a serious awards contender, even if nobody has seen it yet. But if there’s one person that remains skeptical about the film’s Oscar chances, it’s Fincher himself. In this week’s Entertainment Weekly cover story (partially excerpted online), he jokes that “There’s too much anal rape in this movie” to secure major nominations.
The entire article is something of a must read if you haven’t scoured the internet for every scrap of information about the movie, offering a lovely compendium of anecdotes and stories from the production, including the incredible physical and psychological gauntlet Fincher put his star Rooney Mara through and its fidelity to its hardcore source material.
On the casting of Rooney Mara — which if her performance as punk rock/computer freak character Lisbeth Salander actually hits a nerve, promises a breakout turn and possible awards season heat — the article describes an arduous audition process that involved “more and more readings, screen tests, and on-the-fly filming on the L.A. subway.” At one point Fincher had Mara get drunk before a preliminary photo shoot. It was so tough that it even shocked her big name costar.
“It was hell for her,” Daniel Craig, who plays the disgraced magazine editor-turned-investigator Mikael Blomkvist, told EW. “She was just put through the mill.” An enormous amount of attention was put into Lisbeth’s look (Fincher described it as “one of those dirty homeless kids you see on Hollywood Boulevard”), which meant a complete physical transformation for Mara that included, among other things, a severe new haircut (and dye job), several piercings (including her nipple and eyebrow), but the moment when she was taken aback for her new look was when she saw her bleached eyebrows.
“I needed a moment,” she told EW. “I just had to process, okay, that is what you look like now.” Fincher says that he “intended to earn our R,” with the aforementioned rape, saying later: “It can get ugly. When you have to be naked in front of 50 other people and chained to a bed and people are doing horrible things to you with objects…yeah, it’s hard. But that was the story.”
And it’s a story that Mara isn’t especially excited to revisit in the finished movie. She says that Fincher keeps offering to show her rough cuts of the film, but she hasn’t accepted an invitation yet. “I’m just not ready to watch,” she said. “I don’t think I’m really going to enjoy the experience.” A lot of people are looking forward to the flick when “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” opens on December 21st. It’ll be the perfect Christmas movie to bring people together — or drive them apart. A few new images from the movie below via EW.