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Girl With Dragon Tattoo's star quality

posted 29 Dec 2011, 09:15 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 29 Dec 2011, 09:42 ]

Co-stars, British actor Daniel Craig and Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgard say why 'The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo' star Rooney Mara fits the part.

REUTERS / SONY PICTURES  - Critics and co-stars of newcomer Rooney Mara praised the young actress for her star-making turn as tattooed and pierced computer hacker "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" in the Hollywood version of the book-turned-film.

Director David Fincher said he didn't have Mara (pronounced: May-rah) in mind when she played a tiny role in his much-lauded film "The Social Network" as Mark Zuckerberg's girlfriend last year.

"Part of casting is finding people who solve problems for you and one of the things she did for us specifically in "The Social Network" was she was very warm, she was very human, very feminine, very verbal, very confident and grounded and none of that stuff you need for Lisbeth (Salander) it's kind of the opposite. So I didn't think about her initially but as we began to work with her and test her, it was obvious to me that Lisbeth is probably a lot closer to who she is than the girl she played in "The Social Network"", Fincher told Reuters Television.

Mara, 26, beat out a number of well-known Hollywood actresses Scarlett Johannson, Natalie Portman and Ellen Page for one of the most coveted roles of the year. The actress, who comes from a U.S. football family, said she believed the role of the tough and troubled but vulnerable Lisbeth Salander should have gone to someone fairly unknown, especially as so many people read the big or saw the Swedish adaptation of the film.

"I can't say it wouldn't have worked (with big named actresses) but I think, I think that this character is such a question mark and such an enigma, I think for the audience to believe that, and to really fall in love with this girl, and really believe in who she is, it has to be somebody who they don't have a relationship with already," she said.

In the story, Salander teams up with journalist Mikael Blomkvist in search of a killer. Blomkvist is played by British actor Daniel Craig, best known for the role of James Bond.

Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgard plays the corporate executive of a family firm with a terrible secret.

Both actors showered Mara with accolades.

"She's got a huge amount of maturity about her that allowed her. I mean, she exposes herself in a very real way in this film and it's hard to do," Craig said.

"She's a very smart girl and her concentration is enormous and when she comes into the room as Salander, you feel the fierce, tense energy. It's such a different role she played in the Facebook film. Her life will be very different after this," added Skarsgard.

The release of the movie and subsequent reviews have lifted the lid on a challenging tug-of-war between film studios and movie reviewers. Last week New York film reviewers were allowed to see the film early but were required to sign an embargo requesting reviews of the film would not be published until December 14, one day after the film's world premiere in London.

The New Yorker's David Denby broke the embargo, citing a lack of good films for their December 5 issue.

"Dragon Tattoo"'s producer Scott Rudin dramatically banned the critic from screening any of his films in future, despite Denby writing a positive review of the movie.

Fincher said if it were up to him, everyone including critics and audiences would see films at the same time.

"I always question the value of showing a movie before the audience sees it. I like people to go in without having a pre-conceived notion. To me, the reason the lights go out in the theatre before the movie starts is to kind of erase everything you've been thinking and looking at and hopefully you start with a clean slate. To me, the clean slate is the most important thing and that doesn't seem to bode well for movies in the 21st century," said Fincher.

Craig said in a recent article in London's Time Out magazine of a certain type of acting - "modelling acting" - which some directors, not Fincher included, asked him to do.

When confronting the Bond star about it, he joked "my modelling days are long over".

"The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" is out in UK and U.S. cinemas now.