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Casting Lisbeth Salander: 11 Actresses Who Deserve to Be ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’

Rooney Mara won't be back as Lisbeth Salander for Sony's "The Girl in the Spider's Web," so we have to ask: Who should step into the computer hacker's shoes?

Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black”

Sony Pictures has confirmed Lisbeth Salander will finally return to the big screen in “The Girl in the Spider’s Web.” The adaptation of the fourth novel in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series goes into production this September with “Don’t Breathe” director Fede Alvarez. Rooney Mara, who earned an Oscar nomination for playing Salander in David Fincher’s “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” will not be back, which means all eyes are now watching closely to see which actress ends up taking on the iconic role.

READ MORE: ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’ Sets October 2018 Release Date, But Rooney Mara Won’t Be Back As Lisbeth Salander

Sony has also announced that a global casting search is currently underway to find the perfect Lisbeth Salander, while Variety is reporting that A-list names like Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson are already in contention.

Part of what made both David Fincher and Niels Arden Oplev’s Swedish original so exciting was the casting of Mara and Noomi Rapace, respectively. Neither actress was a major star with a built-in screen persona, which made their performances intensely surprising. “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” would be wise to follow suit, even if Sony may want a high profile celebrity to ensure a healthy box office run.

With that in mind, we have some ideas for who should become the next Lisbeth Salander.


Tatiana Maslany68th Primetime Emmy Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 18 Sep 2016WEARING ALEXANDER WANG

Tatiana Maslany

Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock

Tatiana Maslany

The past four seasons of “Orphan Black” have proven Tatiana Maslany’s ability to literally play anything, and when you think about Lisbeth, she actually proves to be a synthesis of the many clones Maslany embodies on the BBC America sci-fi drama. Sarah’s innate badassery, Helena’s damaged psyche, Cosima’s nerdy quirks — all of these qualities and more add up to a character who Maslany could all too easily take on. You might even argue she’s been training for the role this entire time. And as this upcoming fifth season of “Orphan Black” will be its last, she’s got room in her schedule. -Liz Shannon Miller


Zoe KravitzVanity Fair Oscar Party, Los Angeles, USA - 26 Feb 2017

Zoe Kravitz


Zoe Kravitz

Kravitz is one of the most high-profile names to appear here, but her career thus far has been mostly made up of supporting turns in blockbuster movies like “The Divergent Series.” She’s still waiting for her breakthrough lead performance, and Salander would unquestionably be the perfect vehicle. Similar to Mara, there’s an alluring edge to Kravitz that would do Salander justice. She’s got a magnetic screen presence that keeps your eyes locked to the screen and can capably mix an intimidating toughness with a wounded vulnerability, an essential combo for anyone stepping into Salander’s complicated shoes. Her supporting work proves just how slyly she can operate on the fringes of any given scene, whether she has lines or not (see “Big Littles Lies” as an example), and that’s actually where Salander thrives. Kravitz could dominate and forcibly blend into the background, making her an ideal choice. -Zack Sharf



Garance Marillier

Focus World

Garance Marillier

Garance Marillier carried the jarring cannibal drama “Raw” — her first feature — on her shoulders, balancing vulnerability and aggression in a profound way. That mix is perfect for Lisbeth Salander. The character demands a strength both physical and mental, and Marillier went through the ringer in “Raw,” facing sexual assault, grim murders and other unimaginable trauma. Plus casting a virtually-unknown actress in the role is what gave both Noomi Rapace and Rooney Mara a canvas on which to build the character without preconceptions. -Bill Earl


Kaya Scodelario

Shutterstock / Featureflash Photo Agency

Kaya Scodelario

Scodelario has long been one of Hollywood’s favorite short list contenders — she was infamously part of the last round of Katniss Everdeen maybes before the role went to Jennifer Lawrence (and we can see how that worked out for J-Law), later popping up all over “Divergent” dream cast lists — before landing in yet another YA-fueled franchise, “The Maze Runner.” But Scodelario’s bonafides extend way past chosen-girl roles in blockbuster franchises, and she turned in a wholly electric (and mostly unsung) performance as Cathy in Andrea Arnold’s flinty and dark “Wuthering Heights” back in 2011. She’s next got a star-making role in the newest “Pirates of the Caribbean” sequel, but her talents belong in a feature that puts the focus on her, not a staggering, surly Johnny Depp and snarling sea-ghosts. Scodelario has a deep sensitivity pulsing through her work, but she’s also got the kind of surprising toughness that Lisbeth all but requires. -Kate Erbland

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