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'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' burning questions: Enya, Oscar chances, and more

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What’s the deal with that intense opening-credits sequence?
Director David Fincher wanted to introduce Lisbeth’s mindset and the elements that define her, and animation director and designer Tim Miller helped make it a reality. ”It was the same way that I used the title sequence of Se7en to help solve a problem for me,” says Fincher, referring to the fact that the serial killer in that film doesn’t appear until more than an hour in. ”Here, I wanted to get to the stuff of Lisbeth that we were never going to get to in the movie itself — the burning, the emergence of the phoenix, where these symbols that were important enough to her to have them tattooed onto her body came from. We had about a hundred ideas that we couldn’t afford to do, so we sort of whittled it down to 25 and said, ‘Now go.”’

Why wasn’t the relationship between Mikael Blomkvist and Cecilia Vanger in the film?
In order to tell the story in two and a half hours, a lot of material from the 465-page book had to get lost in the transfer. This includes much of the first 100 pages detailing Blomkvist’s libel troubles, but also many of the parts about his extensive love life. ”Mikael had a relationship with [Cecilia] that went on for a lot of pages,” says screenwriter Steven Zaillian, laughing. ”I’m a fan of the book, but when I was reading it, at a certain point I thought, Am I reading Shampoo? Is this Warren Beatty or is this Mikael Blomkvist? I was a lot more interested in the fine increments of his relationship with Salander — of making that a kind of weird love story.”

We’ll never be able to listen to Enya the same way again. Why that song?
Fincher uses ”Orinoco Flow (Sail Away),” Enya’s New Agey 1988 hit, to accompany a particularly violent scene in order to underscore the banality (or at least the banal musical tastes) of evil. But the idea was originally Daniel Craig’s. ”We knew that we needed a little moment of levity,” remembers Fincher. He thought the villain ”should walk over and turn on music, because he doesn’t like to kill — he doesn’t like to hear the screams — without hearing his favorite music. And Daniel Craig hopped up and picked up his iPod and scrolled through it and said, ‘Here it is.’ And we all almost pissed ourselves, we were laughing so hard. It wasn’t a reflection on the track — it’s not like it’s part of the serial-killer playlist on iTunes.” Still, it will probably join ”Singin’ in the Rain” and ”Stuck in the Middle With You” on the mixtape of uncomfortable associations.

How did Rooney Mara get ”tattooed”?
Many of Mara’s piercings — including the ones in her ears, eyebrow, and right nipple — were real, but the tattoos were not. For scenes in which the body art is visible, they needed to be applied beforehand. ”It was really easy,” says the actress. ”It’s called a transfer. It’s kind of like the kind you get when you’re a little kid, but instead of water you use alcohol to put them on.” And while the tattoos may have washed off, Mara says she’s kept the nipple piercing.

Will Rooney Mara get an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Lisbeth Salander?
Mara scored a Golden Globe nomination, but as a late entry in the overall awards season, she still has quite a bit of ground to make up. To land on the Oscar ballot, she’d have to leapfrog over tough competitors like Albert Nobbs‘ Glenn Close and We Need to Talk About Kevin‘s Tilda Swinton, who have both been on the festival circuit for months. The movie’s best shot at a nod? Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ mesmerizing score.

What plans are there for the sequel?
Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal told EW in November that there will definitely be a film version of The Girl Who Played With Fire, hopefully by late 2013, with Zaillian, Mara, and Craig all on board. Whether Fincher will return for another go-round is still, like the trilogy itself, a mystery.

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