Perhaps the woman with greatest impact on entertainment in 2010 wasn’t a real woman at all. Lisbeth Salander, the eponymous character in “The Girl With Dragon Tattoo,” is being hailed by fans worldwide as the most captivating literary heroine to come along since Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. And though Salander — the product of the late Stieg Larsson’s imagination — first made a grand entrance in 2005 when “Dragon Tattoo” hit shelves in the author’s native Sweden, her cultural influence reached its zenith in 2010.
So what is so compelling about the savant hacker with a photographic memory?
“I never read a book before where the woman didn’t take shit from anyone,” explains UTA lit agent Kassie Evashevski, who reps Larsson’s estate as well as Yellowbird Pictures, which produced a trio of Swedish-language pics based on “Dragon Tattoo” and subsequent novels “The Girl Who Played With Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.”
An English-language remake of “Tattoo” made Salandar the most coveted role in American movies since Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone With the Wind” when the heated competition played out over the summer (relative unknown Rooney Mara will eventually assume Salander’s bisexual Aspergian psyche).
Despite her 4-foot-11-inch anorexic frame, Salander inflicts more hurt on bad guys than the entire cast of “The Expendables.” After enduring a brutal rape, the pixie protagonist exacts revenge on her assailant by immobilizing him and tattooing across his stomach: “I am a sadistic pig, a pervert, and a racist.” (without anesthesia, natch).
“I definitely responded to the female empowerment message of the books,” adds Evashevski.
Sony Pictures is betting big that the David Fincher-helmed “Tattoo” redo will launch another boffo franchise.