Yesterday it was announced that Sony will finally make the sequel to their 2011 Girl with the Dragon Tattoo remake. Sony is skipping the other books in Stieg Larsson’s trilogy, though, and going right to the new book, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, written by David Lagercrantz. That’s maybe not a bad idea. Part of the American remake’s problem was that the original Swedish films starring Noomi Rapace had just been so successful that an English-language remake felt like the worst kind of money-grab at the time. But Spider’s Web hasn’t been adapted anywhere yet, so this is a new book with a new movie and feels more “original”.
To that end, they’re recasting Lisbeth Salander. Kind of sucks for Rooney Mara, who put a lot into that role and really seemed to enjoy it, but Sony is starting over from scratch. David Fincher has been replaced by Fede Alvarez (Don’t Breathe), and the hunt is on for a new Lisbeth. Variety reports that Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson—who auditioned for the role with Fincher—are in the running, and so might be Jane Levy, who worked with Alvarez on Don’t Breathe and Evil Dead.
I would prefer an Unknown Lisbeth, not unlike how Mara was best known for a small part in The Social Network when she was unveiled as the girl with the dragon tattoo. With the names we’ve got (so far), Jane Levy best fits that bill. She hasn’t wowed me as much as others, but she’s not known to general audiences and would feel like a fresh get. Portman seems past this kind of role—doesn’t really fit in with her whole woman-baby thing.
And ScarJo’s going to be a tough get. Sony has stuck an October 2018 release date on Spider’s Web, which means they’ll start filming this year. ScarJo is currently promoting Ghost in the Shell, then it’s off to Atlanta for Avengers: Infinity War. RDJ is already at work, and Captain America and his allies start reporting for duty in a couple months. The shoot will continue through the fall, which, if they were to accommodate ScarJo, would put Spider’s Web’s start date toward the end of the year. It’s doable, but it makes everything harder than it needs to be. (Though maybe ScarJo thinks it’s worth the hassle to get that “defining role” at last.)
ScarJo and Natalie Portman feel like knee-jerk selections anyway. They’re the apex of their age group, so of course they’re the go-to names for first round fantasy casting. But there are others. How long before someone brings up Emily Blunt? Or Jennifer Lawrence? Emma Stone? If Portman and ScarJo are actually under consideration and not just watercooler wish-listing—the substance of a lot of casting rumors—then Sony is thinking “star” for Lisbeth Salander. So who would you like to see as Lisbeth? Or would you, like me, rather not know her name?