During the summer of 2008, according to EW, movie producer Scott Rudin was hanging out at his house with his partner in the Hamptons. His partner had recently picked up a Swedish crime novel and started reading. “I knew nothing about it,” said Rudin, whose long list of credits includes No Country for Old Men and The Hours. “I asked him if he wanted to get lunch. He told me, sure, in a week. He said, 'Don't talk to me. Don't bother me. I'm reading.’
The book, Rudin learned later, was Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Soon, Rudin found himself hooked on the novel, as well, along with its two sequels. “I read it, and I read the second and a while later the third,” he said. “I absolutely loved them. They’re just fantastic stories. I spent about a year-and-a-half trying to get the rights.”
Now Rudin and director David Fincher (Fight Club, Zodiac) are in pre-production on the first of three major films for Sony Pictures, which means one of the biggest literary phenomenons in history is only going to get bigger. Dragon Tattoo and its sequels, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (collectively known as the Millennium Trilogy), have sold 40 million copies worldwide. More than 7.2 million copies are in print in the U.S. alone, and the books have spent a combined 10 weeks topping the New York Times best-seller lists.
While Larsson’s survivors are entangled in a wicked estate dispute, his readers are buzzing about a more pressing question: Who should play computer hacker Lisbeth Salander and the crusading investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist in the Fincher movies?
“I think it’s hugely important that these parts be immaculately cast,” says Rudin. “Because to me, yeah, the stories are great, the plots are fantastic, the twists and turns are completely delicious, but the relationship of the two characters is it. That’s what it’s about.”
Speculation says Brad Pitt and Daniel Craig are being considered as candidates for Blomkvist, and actresses as wildly divergent as Kristen Stewart, Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, and Carey Mulligan are being bantered about for Lisbeth.
According to Rudin, casting should wrap in a month or two, but nothing has been decided yet. “I’m happy that people are speculating, but it’s all fantasy,” he insisted. “I would be careful about believing what you’re reading. Let me remind you that Katharine Hepburn was at one point announced to be Scarlett O’Hara" in Gone with the Wind, he laughed. "That’s not to say that it won’t end up being one of them, but you can certainly say it isn’t any of them yet.”
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