By Adam Markovitz
January 12, 2011 at 07:22 PM EST

David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo won’t be in theaters until next December, but fans can already check out the first images of Rooney Mara (The Social Network) as Lisbeth Salander on the cover of this month’s W. Decked out in a black leather jacket, bloody knuckles, and a jet-black, asymmetrical hairdo, Mara doesn’t look a thing like her fresh-faced self in The Social Network. According to the article — which is largely a Fincher profile — Mara’s transformation didn’t come easy: “In one ‘very intense’ day, Mara’s eyebrows were bleached, her hair chopped, and her lip, brow, nose, and nipple pierced,” writes journalist Lynn Hirschberg.

The end result is an androgynous, post-goth poster girl, slightly more high-fashion than one might expect, though that could be W‘s influence. It’s not a big departure from the version of Salander played by Noomi Rapace in the Swedish-language movie trilogy — maybe a little less Edward Scissorhands, a little more Gareth Pugh. But the message is clear: Fincher and Mara aren’t making a “Hollywood” version of Salander. They’re sticking close to Stieg Larsson’s description of the character in his books, rough edges, razored hair and all.

What do you think, PopWatchers? Does Mara’s Salander kick Noomi Rapace’s back to Sweden? Or is Rapace still the definitive Salander for you?

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