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Casting was key to 'Dragon Tattoo' success says its director

21-Dec-2011 • Actor News

David Fincher spoke to NewsOK about casting his edgy thriller and how incumbent 007 star Daniel Craig was the first to join the cast:

“The casting process began with Daniel,” Fincher said, “and if you build your universe, it's like a good basketball team, you start with the anchor. And I knew him to be self-effacing and witty, and I knew that I needed that for Mikael. I wanted a very masculine center to the film. The androgynous side of the movie would be carried by Rooney, that was her job. So I knew that I needed a sort of Robert Mitchum center. And so when we had Daniel that was a fait accompli.

“And because there is this sort of magnetic element — (Mikael and Lisbeth) sort of push against each other — I started to look for the things I wanted to see in Lisbeth, and I didn't see them in anyone we'd been looking at,” Fincher said. “And Rooney was right under our noses, in that I'd already spent four or five days with her on ‘Social Network.'

“But again, when you cast someone you look for an inherent quality that, you know, you're going to be shooting 14-hour days, you're going to be tired, you're not necessarily going to be able to conjure an armor or a facade every single moment,” the director said. “I liken it to a quality that you can't beat out of them with a tire iron. You're looking for an innate quality that they have. Rooney was somebody that we brought back time and time again. Not because we didn't see what we were looking for initially.

“The problems that she was solving for me in the beginning of ‘Social Network' were that she was intensely feminine, very mature, she was warm, she was verbal, she was trying to build a bridge to Jesse (Eisenberg) desperately in that 5½ minutes she was on screen,” he said. “And none of those qualities applied to Lisbeth. In fact, they were the antithesis.

“So every time she would come in we would work together, and I'd say, ‘OK, here's a new hurdle, and you have to jump this.' And after 2½ months, the thing that seemed to be most Lisbethian was that she was just not giving up. She was indomitable,” Fincher said. “There were times in auditioning when I was personally embarrassed to say, ‘I need you to come back in one more time,' and there was never a moment when she balked, although I would have. She always said, ‘OK. What do you need from me this time; what's the new wrinkle?' And I would give it to her, and she would come in and do that. And at the end of it, when we put her on a plane to Stockholm by herself to learn how to ride a motorcycle and find an apartment we knew we had the right person.”

Read the complete interview at NewsOK

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