By Nicole Sperling
Updated August 07, 2010 at 05:08 PM EDT

In the past few days, Robin Wright and Stellan Skarsgard have begun negotiating with Sony Pictures for crucial roles in the highly anticipated The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. (Wright, in particular, is perfectly cast as Erika Berger, Mikael Blomkvist’s editor-in-chief and longtime lover in author Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series.) But where is David Fincher’s girl? A second round of screen tests were conducted last week with four fairly unknown actresses who donned complete Lisbeth Salander garb to play the troubled heroine opposite Daniel Craig as Blomkvist. Fincher and Sony, however, have yet to make a decision.

Perhaps the whole idea of going with an unknown to carry such an important franchise is too big of a gamble for the studio. No one at Sony is talking, but an insider assures me that an unfamiliar actress will land the role. But rumblings around town suggest a different scenario: Natalie Portman, who was rumored to have been offered the role by Fincher and to have declined, may be back in the mix. Word is the studio is pretty high on the diminutive actress, who could slip into the role of the troubled antisocial hacker with relative ease, at least from a looks perspective. Evan Rachel Wood has also been suggested — another interesting choice considering the actress’ penchant for dark roles (see: True Blood).

Regardless of experience, Lisbeth Salander isn’t an easy role. Making it more difficult is the filmmaker’s current plan to have all the players speak with Swedish accents, a decision that could potentially prove distracting. Should the accents not be delivered flawlessly, the film’s stars could also be a potential target for ridicule.

It’s radio silence from the studio as to when a decision will be made. Sony had such good luck announcing Andrew Garfield as their new Spider-Man to the world without advance press interference that they are hoping to do the same with Tattoo. With so much attention on the project, there could be a concerted effort to spread misinformation. But with a release date already set for Dec. 21, 2011, one thing’s for sure: Time is running out.