With Bond on hold, the star is tackling a high-profile new franchise

By Adam Markovitz
August 06, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT

Now that he’s hung up James Bond’s tux for the time being, Daniel Craig is reaching for a comfy sweater: On July 26, Sony confirmed that the 42-year-old actor is headed to icy Sweden — on screen, at least — as the star of the big-budget adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s blockbuster novel The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, directed by David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button). He’ll play disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist, whose dogged pursuit of crooked businessmen lands him in the center of a decades-old murder investigation. Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, and George Clooney were all reportedly interested in the meaty role, which will require Craig to project a Bond-like charm mixed with the grounded sensibility of a hard-nosed reporter. And if the novel is any indication, he’ll also have to gulp down an impressive amount of black coffee and pickled-herring sandwiches — a task as daring as any ever assigned to 007.