‘Girl’ is talk of town in Stockholm

Fincher pic puts local biz into spotlight

David Fincher isn’t talking to the press about his English-language version of “Girl With a Dragon Tattoo” but the film — which has been shooting on location in Stockholm since September — is the talk of the town and the local biz.

Its creative team insists that it is not a remake of the original film, directed by Niels Arden Oplev, that has grossed some $100 million-plus worldwide.

“For David it was very important to make a film that has the Swedish soul in it, and (Stieg) Larsson’s book has a very ugly undercurrent in it,” says Stockholm’s film commissioner Ingrid Rudefors, who liaises between the production and city and government authorities.

But the shoot is more important to the local biz than it may look at first glance. Attracting a major Hollywood production to Sweden — a country with no tax incentives — is a major coup. It also put a bigger spotlight on the local talent and pics, which Hollywood has been cherrypicking more and more in the past couple of years, from “Let the Right One In,” remade as “Let Me In,” to Warners tapping remake rights of hit “Snabba Cash,” to “Cash” helmer Daniel Espinosa handling helming duties on “Safe House,” starring Denzel Washington, among other deals. Rudefors hopes that Fincher’s film can be used as leverage to persuade the Swedish government to consider incentives.

“The producers of Fincher’s film are going to give me the detailed in-country spending figures so I can demonstrate to our finance minister the impact of such a major production,” Rudefors says.

But incentives have critics.

Bengt Toll, deputy CEO at the Swedish Film Institute, which funds local productions, thinks there are big risks associated with setting up incentive schemes.

“You get into ‘incentive wars,’ ” he says, “For such a small industry as Sweden’s, where around 40 features are made a year, it is better to look at ways of raising more money for local and co-productions.”

Toll’s aim is to raise more money from expanding the current levy on audiovisual sales and cinema tickets to include a tax on broadband and other new-media platforms. He proposes reducing the window on theatrical releases to allow such platforms to offer subscribers new films sooner.

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