A couple of days ago some images of actress Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander in David Fincher’s adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo surfaced online… but they were a bit too racy for our family-friendly tastes here at Screen Rant :-).

The heroine of late author Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy novels is indeed just as risque as she is fierce and brilliant, and from the look of things, Mara seems to be diving head-first into the role.

Those who have read Larsson’s first novel or seen the Swedish-language film adaptation by director Niels Arden Oplev already know that Girl With the Dragon Tattoo has some bone-chillingly dark and disturbing moments that must be faced by Salander and investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist (played in Fincher’s film by Daniel Craig). As Fincher told W magazine, they were not playing around when it came to casting Salander: actresses auditioning for the part had to act out what is probably the character’s darkest moment in the novel, and Mara did enough to ultimately walk away with the job.

For those who don’t know, Rooney Mara’s real life is worlds away from the lonely, gritty, hellish world of genius hacker Lisbeth Salander. The actress is practically NFL royalty, as she is directly related to both the founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the founder of the New York Giants; her family has co-owned The Giants ever since. Mara’s older sister also happens to be Kate Mara, an actress recently seen on Entourage, an appearance in Iron Man 2, and is currently a shortlist candidate to star in Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight Rises. As an actress, Rooney Mara is best known for her starring role in the Nightmare on Elm Street remake and her pivotal role as Mark Zuckerberg’s ex-girlfriend in Fincher’s latest film, The Social Network. Though brief, Mara’s turn in Social Network was strong enough to earn a spot on our own “Best Movie Moments of 2010” list.

I say all that to say: An actress with a life this lavish must’ve really done something right to snag such a sought-after role from a director as demanding as Fincher. And Mara doesn’t seem at all shy about donning her Salander persona for the camera. Check out the photos from W that we CAN show you (head to W for the rest):

I know that some of you reading this are upset about this Dragon Tattoo remake, and are especially disgruntled at the thought of someone else besides actress Noomi Rapace – who played Salander in the Swedish films – taking on the part. Yes, Rapace did a phenomenal job with the role (enough so to land some high-profile Hollywood roles), but if I’m being totally honest, what I see here from Mara makes me feel like she is a just a bit truer to the character Larsson described in his novels.

In the books, Salander is described as being tiny in size, almost anorexic thin, covered in tattoos and piercings.  She wears the blank expression of a person who is introverted to the point of almost being autistic, while her eyes contain a wildfire intelligence and violent spirit that cannot be fathomed by most, let alone broken by any. Looking at these photos, not only does Mara embody the character (especially the stare in that cigarette image), I dare say that I have an easier time buying her as the iconic Swedish hacker than I did Rapace – who is actually Swedish!

Noomi Rapace as Salander

Of course, we always say that people shouldn’t be too quick to judge a film by a few pictures (usually when they’re being negative), so I can’t shower too much praise on Mara just yet. However, as much as it makes me sound like a Monday morning quarterback, when casting for Dragon Tattoo was underway, I was secretly pulling for Mara to get the job. What I saw from her in Nightmare on Elm Street impressed me (not an easy feat as I hated that film) and it was clear (to me) that even amidst a crowd of fresh young actors, Mara was going to standout as a star.

I hope I’m not disappointed when The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo hits theaters on December 21, 2011.

Source W via Collider