Director David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon – the second film adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s best-selling novel (but the first in English) – was both a critical and commercial success when it hit theaters in 2011, but due to a variety of factors (budget concerns, scheduling issues) the sequel, The Girl Who Played with Fire, has yet to come to fruition. While many would like to see Fincher again direct Rooney Mara in the role of punk hacker genius Lisbeth Salander, it appears that’s not going to happen.
Instead, Sony is reportedly planning to move forward with a big screen adaptation of The Girl in the Spider’s Web: the Lisbeth Salander novel that was published in August 2015, and the first installment in this series not authored by the late Larsson (who passed away in 2004). The catch? Neither Fincher, Mara, nor Mara’s Dragon Tattoo costar Daniel Craig (who took on the role of the investigative journalist Mikael Blomqvist) are expected to return for this new movie.
THR is reporting that Sony has Oscar-nominated writer/director Steven Knight in talks to adapt the Girl in the Spider’s Web source novel (written by David Lagercrantz). For those curious, here is the plot summary for Lagercrantz’ book:
Late one night, Blomkvist receives a phone call from a source claiming to have information vital to the United States. The source has been in contact with a young female superhacker—a hacker resembling someone Blomkvist knows all too well. The implications are staggering. Blomkvist, in desperate need of a scoop for Millennium, turns to Salander for help. She, as usual, has her own agenda. The secret they are both chasing is at the center of a tangled web of spies, cybercriminals, and governments around the world, and someone is prepared to kill to protect it . . .
Knight is responsible for having scripted such well-received drama/thriller fare as Dirty Pretty Things and Eastern Promises, in addition to biographical dramas (Amazing Grace, Pawn Sacrifice) and intimate character studies alike (Locke). Some of Knight’s more recent mainstream screenwriting efforts haven’t gone over so well critically (see: Burnt and Seventh Son, the latter of which Knight only co-scripted), but on the whole he reads as being a smart choice to adapt the continuing tale of Lisbeth Salander for the big screen – now that Girl with the Dragon Tattoo scribe Steve Zaillian is no longer working on this franchise, at the least.
The Wrap, in related news, is reporting that Alicia Vikander is Sony’s top choice to assume the role of Lisbeth Salander in Girl in the Spider’s Web, though it’s not clear if Vikander has even been approached with an offer at this time. Vikander, who (like Lisbeth) is Swedish, broke out as a star this year with her roles in films like Ex Machina and The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and had a small role in Burnt; with leading roles in such upcoming films as awards-season period drama The Danish Girl and action sequel Bourne 5 on the horizon, Vikander’s star should only continue to rise in the foreseeable future. As such, if Sony intends to cast her as Lisbeth, best to do it sooner than later.
That being said: Fincher’s direction on Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Mara’s Oscar-nominated lead performance were the film’s most widely-acclaimed elements, so the news that Girl in the Spider’s Web won’t involve either of them won’t come as welcome news to many. It’s quite feasible that whoever is formally recruited to star and helm the movie, in turn, will inspire more confidence in the project – but first, fans will need to let the news that Sony’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo franchise is essentially being rebooted already sink in.
We’ll bring you more information on The Girl in the Spider’s Web when it becomes available.