Film fans who go to see The Girl in the Spider’s Web will swiftly notice that star Claire Foy’s Lisbeth Salander has a more restrained, less punky look than that of Rooney Mara or Noomi Rapace in the previous movies to feature the Swedish hacker. The decision to give Salander this spare style was a deliberate one on the part of Foy and filmmaker Fede Alvarez, who directed and co-wrote this latest installment of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo franchise.
“We really didn’t care about going too far with the fashion or making too much of a big deal out of it,” Alvarez tells EW. “Some of the stories, and in particular the movies that were made about her, went very far in with trying to find this unique, distinctive look. I was worried that that usually overtakes everything, and a radical characterization may cloud the character.”
“People believe what she should look like, as opposed to necessarily what is in the book,” says Foy. “I just didn’t want to do anything that people expected, or thought should be there, for absolutely no reason other than they’re like, ‘Well, she wears fishnet tights, and has her head shaved, and has got loads of piercings and all these tattoos.’ I didn’t want to do any of that and it be a cliché, because it very quickly wears you, as opposed to it being a real character and a real-life person. And I think it was very important for me to show that this isn’t the Lisbeth Salander of the first Dragon Tattoo. A huge number of years have passed, and she’s changed, and been through a lot, and you have to reflect that in how she now puts herself together. Does she still have the same point to prove now as she did then or not? And so, I just was like, ‘If we don’t have to do it and it didn’t feel right, then why are we feeling like we had to put all of these things on top of this person?’ So I was very back-to-basics and very stripped-back. Everything had to have a reason.”
Foy also felt it was time for a change when it came to Salander’s famous dragon tattoo.
“I felt quite strongly that I wanted to go away from the kind of Chinese dragon and towards the Norse dragon,” she explains. “That made more sense to me, being where she’s from. The dragon was an important one, but also all the other tattoos that she has — a couple of them were just quotes that I thought were relevant to Lisbeth. I loved that part of it, I loved doing the tattoos.”
The Girl in the Spider’s Web opens Nov. 9