While the new trailer above for The Girl in the Spider’s Web (out Nov. 9) is action-packed, director and co-writer Fede Alvarez was keen that the promo for this new entry in the Dragon Tattoo franchise not leave viewers with the impression that they had basically seen the whole film.
“People complain that a lot of trailers just spoil too much,” says Alvarez, the director of 2013’s Evil Dead and 2016’s Don’t Breathe. “Every time a trailer comes out, they go, ‘Oh, they’ve spoiled the whole movie!’ So, we are really trying not to do that. I think, basically, it gives you a glimpse of the style of this movie, the tone we’re going for, and hopefully shows people how different it is from any previous incarnations.”
The most recent big screen incarnation of the saga was David Fincher’s 2011 film The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Based on the late Stieg Larsson’s best-selling novel, the film starred Rooney Mara in the titular role of Lisbeth Salander, a brilliant computer hacker with a deep hatred for men who abuse women, and Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist, a Swedish journalist who recruits Salander to help him solve a decades-old missing person case. Prior to Fincher’s film, Larsson’s posthumously-published trilogy of novels about Salander and Blomkvist (Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest) was turned into three Swedish language films starring Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist. The Girl in the Spider’s Web is the first movie in the franchise to be based on a novel not written by Larsson (the original 2015 book was penned by David Lagercrantz) and the first to star The Crown actress Claire Foy as Salander. Foy recalls being apprehensive about the idea of following in the thespian steps of Rapace and Mara.
“My initial thought was, ‘Oh god,'” says the actress. “Then I met Fede and Elizabeth [Cantillon], the producer, and we had a really nice chat. I’d watched Fede’s films, and I was just really into him as a filmmaker, and [that] just made me really excited about it.”
Alvarez cast Swedish actor Sverrir Gudnason (Borg vs. McEnroe) in the role of Blomkvist, who is both Salander’s investigative partner and occasional lover. “There’s been a lot of history between the two of them,” says the director. “You find them at a point in their life when they haven’t been seeing each other for a long time. Blomkvist is down on his luck. He’s not doing great at his career when we meet him at the beginning of the story, and part of the reason seems to be because of Lisbeth.”
The film’s other stars include Stephen Merchant, who plays a computer engineer Alvarez says “triggers the big plot of the movie”; Lakeith Stanfield, who portrays an NSA agent on the hunt for Salander; and Blade Runner 2049 actress Sylvia Hoeks, who the director cast as a mysterious figure from Salander’s past.
“Lisbeth seems to be some sort of superhero almost, like some sort of Avenger, and seems to be saving people selflessly,” says Alvarez. “Suddenly this mysterious character shows up and says, ‘Hey, why did you save everybody but me?'”
Alvarez regards his film not as a sequel to Fincher’s movie but rather as the next chapter in the series. So, much like a Bond movie with a new actor playing 007?
“That’s a nice way to see it, right,” says the director. “When you recast Bond, you’ve got to start again. You don’t really need to have seen all the other Bonds to understand the new Bond. This, in a way, is like that. But, if you are a fan of the books, or if you are a fan of the other movies, it will give you a lot of very satisfactory moments.”
Should The Girl in the Spider’s Web prove popular with audiences, Alvarez and Foy agree that they would be happy to work together again on another Salander tale.
“There are [more] things that I would like to explore,” says the actress. “But you know what the film industry is like! [Laughs] So, we’ll just see how this one goes.”