Swedish actor Max von Sydow was in talks to play Henrik Vanger in David Fincher’s English-language adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and it was generally assumed he was a lock for the role.  We have now learned that the part has instead gone to another prestigious name – 80-year-old Canadian-born actor Christopher Plummer.

The wealthy Henrik Vanger plays a pivotal role in the plot of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo as he hires disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) to investigate the disappearance of his beloved niece, which occurred some 40 years before.  Blomkvist is eventually aided in his quest by the gothic hacker Lisbeth Salander, who will be played by Rooney Mara.

Mara will make her next appearance on the big screen in Fincher’s The Social Network, which opens in the U.S. this Friday.  Pre-production has already begun on the new Dragon Tattoo adaptation, which will retain the Stockholm setting of author Stieg Larsson’s original novel.

Oscar-winning screenwriter Steve Zaillian is responsible for scripting the film, which will be based off the source novel by Larsson and not the Swedish cinematic adaptation directed by Niels Arden Oplev.  Zaillian has already been signed on to pen the sequel, The Girl Who Played With Fire – which Fincher has the option of directing as well.

Christopher Plummer as Lev Tolstoy in ‘The Last Station.’

Plummer is a well-respected thespian who received his first Oscar nomination only last year for his performance in Michael Hoffman’s The Last Station.  Some of his more memorable performances include that of 60 Minutes anchor Mike Wallace in Michael Mann’s The Insider and – perhaps most famously – his turn as the strict father Baron Von Trapp in the classical musical The Sound of Music.

While von Sydow was a natural fit for the role of Vanger, Plummer is himself a versatile actor who very rarely turns in a sub-par performance.  He should easily be able to capture the sense of world-weariness that defines the elderly Vanger, a man haunted by the loss of his most beloved relative and the dark legacy of his family.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo arrives in theaters in the U.S. on December 21st, 2011.

Source: THR