Early buzz concerning director David Fincher’s soon-to-be-released The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo adaptation is extremely positive (so far). The film (at the time of writing this) has a Rotten Tomatoes score of over 92% and managed to earn a Golden Globe nomination for starlet Rooney Mara’s portrayal of the titular anti-heroine.

Fincher already has the option to helm the Dragon Tattoo followup, The Girl Who Played With Fire; it’s expected that, should Fincher choose to exercise that option, Sony would also want the Oscar-nominated filmmaker to adapt the final entry in author Stieg Larsson’s original Millennium trilogy – ie. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.

Larsson’s Dragon Tattoo sequels are (essentially) two halves of a single narrative – something that not only lends further credence to the idea of Fincher handling both film adaptations, but also supports the notion that they could feasibly be shot back-to back.

The filmmaker agrees on that latter point, and recently had the following to say on the matter, while promoting his Dragon Tattoo adaptation at a New York City press conference:

“Yes, the second two books [in the Millennium trilogy] are very much one story and it doesn’t seem prudent to me to go to Sweden for a year.  Come back for a year.  Put out the second one.  Go to Sweden for a year.  Come back for a year.  I don’t think Rooney [Mara] wants to be doing this four years from now.  So I think that would be crazy especially given the sense that it’s really one story that’s kind of bifurcated in the middle.”

While Dragon Tattoo screenwriter Steven Zaillian is officially onboard to script Girl Who Played With Fire, he has admitted to Collider to not having actually begun the writing process just yet. The Oscar-winner scribe also said that he expects to finish the first draft of the script in about six months’ time – meaning that production on the first Dragon Tattoo sequel likely wouldn’t get underway until late 2012, at the earliest.

'Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' stars Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara

Much like Dragon Tattoo, Girl Who Played With Fire and Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest are both neo-Noir tales that are ripe with disturbing subject matter, darkly dangerous characters, and unsettling atmosphere. While readers may have mixed feelings about the quality of Larsson’s latter source material in comparison to his first novel about Lisbeth Salander, those books certainly stand to benefit from being scripted by Zaillian and visually-realized by Fincher.

All the same, shooting the second and third movies in a blockbuster series back-to-back can be a problematic approach, especially when they have a shared storyline; the results have often been weak to disappointing, in the past (see: the Matrix and Pirates of the Caribbean franchises).

In this particular case, that production plan actually makes more sense – not only for the practical reasons Fincher has cited, but also because the Dragon Tattoo sequels’ narrative is already set in stone and planned out in advance (a la Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy adaptation) … unlike, say, the third Pirates flick, where shooting began before the script was even complete.

Look to learn more information about this subject (including, an update on Fincher’s involvement) in the upcoming weeks, following the theatrical release of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo on December 20th, 2011.

Source: David Fincher (via Collider)