Image Credit: James Atoa/Everett CollectionAfter news broke yesterday that Rooney Mara had landed the lead role of Lisbeth Salander in the three-picture Hollywood adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, interest in the relatively unknown actress spiked, landing her in the top 10 Google search trends.

Mara most recently starred in the 2010 reboot of A Nightmare on Elm Street update and 2009’s Youth in Revolt, in which she played Portia Doubleday’s promiscuous roommate Taggarty. “She auditioned for the role of Sheeni [which went to Doubleday] and was great,” says Youth director Miguel Arteta. “We were debating the right person for that part, and she was among the people we loved. We wanted her in the movie and asked if she would do this smaller part, and she was gracious enough to do it.”

And while it’s no small task to go from a supporting role in an indie comedy to the title character in a hotly anticipated U.S. remake of a literary phenomenon, Arteta sounds unconcerned, calling Mara an “exceptionally talented” actress. “She’s got that perfect combination of mystery and familiarity that it takes to make a movie star,” he says. “The reason I cast her was because she had to be able to look at somebody and seduce them without a word. She has one of those gazes where you can see so much into what she’s thinking, without her saying anything.”

But with a high-profile gig like Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy comes intense scrutiny, something that Arteta believes the Lisbeth-to-be is more than capable of handling. He says: “I wouldn’t be surprised at all if she handles it in a very elegant way. She is a surprisingly confident woman for her age. I had no doubt when I cast her that she would go on to be a movie star.”

What do you think about the casting? If you’ve seen Youth in Revolt or 2010’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, how do you think Mara will do as the pixie hacker? Sound off in the comments below!

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Book)
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