While David Fincher and Co. continue their search for the perfect actress to play hacker hero Lisbeth Salander in the remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, there are also other pieces of the puzzle to fit into place.

The only cast member set in stone so far is Daniel Craig, who will play Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist hired to investigate the disappearance of a girl who vanished forty years prior. However, Variety is reporting that another major part might soon be filled by Swedish thespian Stellan Skarsgård (Pirates of the Caribbean).

Coming right out of the camp of obvious casting choices, Skarsgård would play Martin Vanger, the brother of the missing Harriet Vanger and just one of the many prime suspects in the investigation. Skarsgård said:

“I have met with [David] Fincher, I want to work with him, he wants to work [with] me. I have had a concrete offer and now we are in negotiations… The contract period is for September [2010] to March [2011], but I don’t know yet when I am supposed to start my part of the film.”

Confirming what Fincher previously revealed, Skarsgård said that most of Dragon Tattoo will be shot (and set) in Sweden but some studio work will be done in the U.S. Interestingly, the actor also said that some location work might be done in the States when it gets too dark to film in Sweden.

I have little doubt that Skarsgård will end up playing Martin Vanger – not only does he have the authentic Swedish look (not to mention he’s not too dissimilar to the original actor, Peter Haber), but he has the right sort of presence for the role. Anyone who has read the original book by Stieg Larsson or seen the original film will know how distinct and important each of the (main) characters are and Martin Vanger is certainly no different.

In other related news, Deadline is reporting that writer of American version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Steve Zaillian, is returning to write the already-planned sequel, The Girl Who Played With Fire. Zaillian is still working on refining the script for Dragon Tattoo but the studio evidently wants to move things along quick and are striving to keep continuity by rehiring Zaillian.

You might not know his name but Zaillian has written some pretty big hitters over the last couple of decades, including Schindler’s List (which he won an Oscar for), Gangs of New York, Hannibal and most recently Ridley Scott’s American Gangster. I personally think Zaillian is up to the task of adapting Dragon Tattoo and its sequel, both heavy books dealing with tough themes and issues, not to mention being world-wide bestsellers.

It seems one of the few major issues remaining to be sorted out is who’s going to portray Lisbeth Salander. All sorts of actresses have been attached to the role, from Ellen Page (my personal pick) and Emily Browning (Sucker Punch), to Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) and Rooney Mara (A Nightmare on Elm Street). I can see why they’re taking their time choosing, though – Salander is one of the most complex and interesting female heroines to come along in years. They can’t just cast anyone in the role for the sake of moving things along.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo goes into production this Fall and is set to hit theaters just in time for Christmas on December 21st, 2011.

No word yet on when its sequel, The Girl Who Played With Fire, will be released. Stay tuned.

Sources: Variety and Deadline