An American ‘Dragon?’
If you haven’t yet heard of Noomi Rapace and the Millennium trilogy from Sweden, you will. Rapace, a young Swedish actress, “definitely has gay cult status here,” says my friend and colleague, Judi Gilbert, an editor in Germany.
The three Millennium books are bestsellers around the world and are second only to the Harry Potter books in the United States, according to the New York Times. All three have been made into films featuring Rapace as Lisbeth Salander, a gifted and queer computer hacker whose sketchy upbringing has instilled, shall we say, a few noticeable anti-social quirks?
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the first film, was released with subtitles in U.S. theaters in March. A beautifully shot, character-driven detective thriller, it’s reminiscent of the American Borne films, only edgier, with subtitles and without Matt Damon.
Hollywood is set to remake the films, however, the first one planned for late next year with producer Scott Rudin (Julie & Julia, No Country for Old Men) and director David Fincher (Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button).
I wonder if Lisbeth stands a chance to retain her grit and anti-glamour?
As soon as Rapace appears onscreen in the Swedish film, she invokes thoughts of a brutalized Shane of “The L Word” (Katherine Moennig) or Tyler from the upcoming “Girltrash: All Night Long” (Michele Lombardo). Having spent time on both sets, I believe either could kick ass as the sulky and sultry Lisbeth character.
In Dragon Tattoo, Lisbeth has sexual encounters with men and women, making her preference a bit foggy. The second film, however, which has already been released in Europe as The Girl Who Played With Fire, Lisbeth “has major sex with her girlfriend, no real room for misunderstanding there,” my colleague Judi reports.
There is a telling morning-after scene in Dragon Tattoo, when Lisbeth awakens with a woman, but she instigates a physical relationship with Blomkvist, the investigative journalist, as well, which Judi describes as “totally dispassionate, mechanical.”
That scene merely baffled me. It seemed as though Lisbeth was just looking for sex, which was unlikely after what she’d just been through. I wondered if a female author would have written that scene.
The original Swedish title for Dragon Tattoo, by the way, is Men Who Hate Women—and there’s excruciating support for that in this film. The women, however, are not weak. In fact, Lisbeth and another female character are strong, smart and capable.
The story behind Dragon Tattoo is almost as intriguing as the books themselves. All three were published after the author, Stieg Larsson, died of a heart attack at age 50 in 2004. Some see his death as suspicious, because of powerful enemies he made during his journalism career.
Several actors have been mentioned for the Hollywood remakes. Carey Mulligan (An Education, The Greatest) is a serious contender for the part of Lisbeth, according to reports, with Brad Pitt as the investigative journalist. (Pitt has worked three times with Fincher, in Seven, Fight Club and Benjamin Button). Johnny Depp and George Clooney are also mentioned as Blomkvist, who in the Swedish films is a likable everyman.
Mulligan seems too perky-cute for the dark and intense Goth girl. But who knows what a few tattoos, piercings and hair dye will do? Another intriguing possibility is Twilight’s Kristin Stewart, who was impressive as teen rock rebel Joan Jett in The Runaways.
No need to wait for Hollywood, though. The second and third films from Sweden, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, are set for release in the United States this fall.
Look for me in the popcorn line.
Watch the trailer here:
Blogger Bio: For more than a decade Laurie Schenden has covered the entertainment industry for Curve, the Los Angeles Times and Germany's Spotlight magazine. Her cover stories for Curve magazine have included Sharon Stone, Melissa Etheridge, and the cast of The L Word. She’s also an award winning documentary filmmaker and one of the co-creators of the Laughing Matters film series, seen on Logo.
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