Sony is finally working on a new movie featuring super-hacker Lisbeth Salander—and everything may be different

Role: Lisbeth Salander, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Technique: After a contentious casting process , relative newcomer Mara won the coveted role and almost…
Credit: Baldur Bragason/Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Rough-and-tumble cyberpunk sleuth Lisbeth Salander will fight her way back to the big screen soon, but she may or may not resemble Rooney Mara.

News broke last week that Sony ­Pictures is planning an adaptation of The Girl in the Spider’s Web, the fourth book from the best-selling Millennium ­mysteries (and the only novel in the series not written by Stieg Larsson). Producers Amy ­Pascal and Scott Rudin, who partnered on David Fincher’s 2011 English-language adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, have chosen to bypass books two and three, but they also reportedly appear to be bypassing Fincher and stars Daniel Craig and Mara, who landed an Oscar nomination for her performance.

The reason behind changing, oh, everything? One source says the producers like the idea that Spider’s Web would be new to the screen. Some analysts posited that the U.S. version of Dragon Tattoo didn’t earn as much as it might have since audiences had already had an opportunity to see Swedish-­language adaptations of the first three books starring Noomi Rapace.

But it’s also about economics. Fincher’s film cost close to $100 million and grossed more than $200 million worldwide — not a flop, but not the ­runaway hit Sony was hoping for. A source says the studio plans to spend a judicious $60 million on Spider’s Web (a budget Fincher would likely balk at). The more reasonable outlay would leave the filmmakers free to craft a dark, violent R-rated thriller, one that wouldn’t need to earn blockbuster sums to turn a healthy profit.

As to why the producers would ­consider recasting Mara, that remains unclear, and sources close to the ­project caution that the actress, and even Daniel Craig, who played scruffy journalist Mikael Blomkvist, could return for the new film. Neither star’s agent wanted to comment. Meanwhile, the Hollywood rumor mill has been busy anointing this year’s ­breakout star Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, The Danish Girl) as her possible replacement.

Though don’t cast Mara out yet. As recently as 2014, the actress, who could land another Oscar nomination this year for her work in the upcoming film Carol, was urging fans to “Maybe start a ­petition, because I want to do it.” And considering the lengths Mara was willing to go for the Salander part — bleaching her eyebrow, shaving her head, piercing her skin — she’s going to be tough to top.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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