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David Fincher on ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’

Eye on the Oscars: The Director - David Fincher

David Fincher started shooting “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” 25 days after turning in “The Social Network.” That kind of accelerated schedule would be taxing even in the best circumstances, much less with the challenges Fincher and his crew faced in getting the big-budget adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s blockbuster crime novel off the ground.

“It was difficult to have such a rushed prep, and then work in a foreign country,” Fincher says in an email exchange with Variety. “Sweden was patient with us and melding the two filmmaking worlds together. Weather was a challenge, more so the lack of daylight or the lack of darkness and trying to schedule around it.”

And then there was the material itself. Fincher, of course, is no stranger to dark themes, having explored humanity’s baser instincts in such movies as “Seven,” “Fight Club” and “Zodiac.” He says his attraction to “Dragon Tattoo” had less to do with the book’s more lurid aspects than with the “idea of sexual politics between men and women.”

“I was interested in making a movie for adults,” Fincher says. “The book is for adults and I liked that the studio was interested in keeping it that way.”

Fincher was also determined to preserve the edginess of the novel’s heroine, Lisbeth Salander, and not have her become, in his words, too “bitchin’.” The revenge aspect of the material presented this trap, Fincher believes, and he and actress Rooney Mara strove to avoid having Salander, whom the late Larsson described as a grown-up twist on Sweden’s famous Pippi Longstocking heroine, turn into a vengeful cartoon character hell-bent on settling an old score.

“We did not want her to stand out,” Fincher says. “She needed to disappear. And, if seen, everything about her says, ‘Fuck off.'”

EYE ON THE OSCARS: THE DIRECTOR
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