Claire Foy becomes the third actress to play Lisbeth Salander in Sony's upcoming The Girl in the Spider's Web, but that almost wasn't the case, according to director Fede Alvarez (Evil Dead). Foy follows in the footsteps of Noomi Rapace, who played Salander in the original Swedish movie trilogy based on Steig Larsson's Millennium trilogy of novels, and Rooney Mara, who earned an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Lisbeth Salander in director David Fincher's 2011 adaptation. Given the critical acclaim and Mara's Oscar nomination, it's not terribly surprising that the studio was considering bringing her back, but Alvarez ultimately convinced the studio to let him cast his own version of the iconic character.
Sony's 2011 adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was supposed to kick off an American adaptation of Larsson's trilogy, starring Mara as the hacker Salander and Daniel Craig as journalist Mikael Blomkvist (originally portrayed by Michael Nyqvist). While the film was received well by critics, it wasn't exactly a runaway hit at the box office. The adaptation earned $232.6 million worldwide from a $90 million budget. While there were no shortage of rumors about the franchise's future over the years, Sony finally announced last year that they were skipping the last two books of the Millennium trilogy and, instead, adapting The Girl in the Spider's Web, the first novel in the new series written by David Lagercrantz, following Larsson's death.
Since Lagercrantz's book does feature Salander and Blomkvist, many wondered if Mara and Craig would still return to reprise their roles, but the decision was ultimately made to cast Foy and Sverrir Gudnason as the hacker and journalist, respectively. Alvarez revealed in a new interview with EW that there was "a lot of debate" on the studio side as to whether or not they should keep the existing stars or recast. There was no debate for Alvarez, though, who told the studio that he "preferred" to have his own cast. Here's what the director had to say on the matter:
"As a director, I just didn’t like the idea of taking someone else’s cast. As much as I admired Fincher as a filmmaker, I think Rooney Mara is Fincher’s Lisbeth, right? And I wanted to find my own.”
While there were others such as Scarlett Johansson once being considered to play Salander, Alvarez eventually landed on Foy to play Salander and Gudnason to replace Craig as Blomkvist. Of course, the rest of the director's cast - which includes Sylvia Hoeks as Camilla Salander and Lakeith Stanfield as Alona Casales, along with Vicky Kreips and Stephen Merchant - have taken on roles that didn't need to be recast since their characters weren't in the last movie.
What remains to be seen is how fans will react to this new casting, the third incarnation of Salander to surface in less than a decade. If this movie is a success, Sony could continue on and adapt Lagercrantz's second novel in the series, 2017's The Girl Who Takes an Eye For an Eye, but that likely won't be set in stone until the studio sees how this adaptation fares at the box office. If The Girl in the Spider's Web fails to impress fans and critics alike, though, it may be the last audiences see of Salander and Blomkvist for quite some time.
- The Girl in the Spider's Web (2018) release date: Nov 09, 2018