A Hollywood remake is very much a tricky proposition when the original product was both critically-acclaimed and did solid business at the worldwide box office – such is the case with David Fincher’s English-language adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
Niels Arden Oplev directed the Swedish cinematic adaptation of the late Stieg Larsson’s hit novel and has now spoken out a bit about Fincher’s Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which is technically not a remake of Oplev’s film but a separate take on Larsson’s source material.
Fincher’s Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is being penned by Oscar-winner Steve Zaillian (Schindler’s List), who has insisted that his screenplay is based solely on Larsson’s original novel and that he has no plans to even watch Oplev’s adaptation. That has not prevented most media outlets from referring to the project as an American remake and – judging from his interview with Word & Film - Oplev is also under the same (mistaken) impression. The Danish filmmaker has not flat-out denounced Fincher’s movie, but he seems less than enthused about the whole endeavor.
Here’s the quote from Oplev about the new Girl With the Dragon Tattoo film:
“Even in Hollywood there seems to be a kind of anger about the remake, like, ‘Why would they remake something when they can just go see the original?’ Everybody who loves film will go see the original one. It’s like, what do you want to see, the French version of “La Femme Nikita” or the American one? You can hope that Fincher does a better job.”
Oplev’s Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was an engagingly dark and gritty neo-Noir that revolved primarily around the titular gal, punk-goth computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace). While Fincher is universally acknowledged as a technically precise and meticulous filmmaker, his take on Girl With the Dragon Tattoo will inevitably be compared its Swedish counterpart, for better or for worse.
Rapace’s intense performance as the brilliant but haunted Salander has earned the actress numerous accolades and very much assisted her in snagging the female lead role in Sherlock Holmes 2. Oplev feels that Rapace very much deserves an Oscar nomination for the role (a sentiment we share), and despite the potential of actress Rooney Mara playing Salander in Fincher’s version, a lot of moviegoers that saw Oplev’s Girl With the Dragon Tattoo will (and do) consider it blasphemy that another actress has been cast in the part.
While Oplev’s Girl With the Dragon Tattoo grossed nearly $200 million in theaters worldwide, it only did about $10 million in ticket sales at the U.S. box office. Fincher’s version could very well make that same amount (and more) on its first day of release in theaters. Larsson’s Millennium trilogy has been a best-seller here in the States for awhile now and Fincher has a loyal cult following of his own, so his Girl With the Dragon Tattoo should be far more financially successful than another recent English-language take on a popular Swedish book-turned-movie, Let Me In.
We hope that Fincher’s movie turns out well and that it encourages those who missed Oplev’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo to give the Swedish film a try. But do we really need or want a Hollywood interpretation of this story, regardless of the talent behind it? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.