It takes guts to retread over territory initially paved by David Fincher, but director Fede Álvarez is going to try — on his own terms.
Following Monday’s announcement that the Don’t Breathe director will helm the long-gestating sequel to Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the Uruguayan filmmaker addressed the decision to recast the role of Lisbeth Salander — which Rooney Mara popularized for English-speaking audiences in 2011 (Mara earned an Oscar nomination for her work).
“It’s said that 50% of the director’s work is casting,” Álvarez tweeted Tuesday in response to a fan’s question about Mara’s lack of involvement in the 2018 production. “If I’d just take Fincher’s (amazing) casting, I wouldn’t be doing half of my job.”
Fincher’s Oscar-nominated drama — the second big screen adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s 2005 novel (Noomi Rapace played the lead in Niels Arden Oplev’s 2009 Swedish version) — starred Daniel Craig and Mara as Mikael Blomkvist (a journalist in search of a woman missing for 40 years) and Salander (a hacker who helps him), respectively.
Upon revealing Álvarez as Fincher’s replacement, Sony also confirmed it would move the series in a new direction without the prior film’s cast (namely Craig and Mara) in tow; EW later confirmed names like Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, and Alicia Vikander are being considered to take over for Mara, who received her second Academy Award nomination last year for her work in Todd Haynes’ Carol.
The Girl in the Spider’s Web is based on David Lagercrantz’s novel of the same name, which expanded upon Larsson’s three-book Millennium series following his death in 2004. Álvarez co-wrote the Spider’s Web screenplay with Eastern Promises scribe Steven Knight and Monsters: Dark Continent‘s Jay Basu.
Following the worldwide success of Fincher’s Dragon Tattoo, Larsson’s novels The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest were reportedly under consideration for big screen, American adaptations, though projects never fully materialized. Nonetheless, Sony has retained rights to all future series releases, including another upcoming installment penned by Lagercrantz.
“I’m hugely excited and grateful for this opportunity,” Álvarez said of directing the film via a press statement. “Sony has become family to me and I can’t think of a more thrilling project to celebrate our relationship. Lisbeth Salander is the kind of character any director dreams of bringing to life. We’ve got a great script and now comes the most fun part — finding our Lisbeth.”
Álvarez recently struck a chord with mainstream audiences as when his horror hit Don’t Breathe grossed an astonishing $89.2 million on a $9.9 million budget last summer.
Ahead of its planned Oct. 5, 2018, release date, The Girl in the Spider’s Web is scheduled to begin shooting this September.