I’m a big fan of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as well as the rest of the Millennium series (The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest) as they’re entertaining reads, mostly well-written, and feverishly paced thrillers that knows how to keep the pages turning at break-neck speeds. That said, I’ve never seen the Swedish film adaptations, making my only taste of Larsson’s story hitting the big screen is David Fincher’s vision of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, and boy what a vision it is, nailing the adaptation in all the right places. While it wasn’t a huge success at the box office, word on the street is that Sony has greenlit the other two films to be made back-to-back (they’re essentially the same story broken into two books, so that makes sense) with all cast members returning, except official confirmation that Fincher will be back. WTF?
Why oh why would they make the rest of the series without Fincher at the helm is behind me, but according to the latest news (HERE), Fincher hasn’t been confirmed (nor denied) that he’ll be returning to the world Larsson created and that he so masterfully put on the big screen. Having another director on board can’t happen. I mean, yeah, it could happen, and since Sony is eager as all get-out to get the damn films made ASAP, it probably will happen, but holy hell, it sure as shite shouldn’t happen! Throwing in another director certainly won’t do the world, tone, and visual style that Fincher already established to the series any good, but most importantly, they won’t do the film’s cast any good either.
I’m not saying that Daniel Craig isn’t a good actor, but… his performance in DREAM HOUSE is atrocious. He single-handedly killed his acting career (in my book, anyway), and if it wasn’t for DRAGON TATTOO, I’d probably write his ass off completely. Bond or no Bond, he sucked heated buttholes in DREAM HOUSE, so much so that he shouldn’t have been allowed to act again. But Fincher saw something else in Craig and Craig seemed to respond to Fincher’s directions, knocking his portrayal of Mikael Blomkvist out of the park and then some. Sure, it’s not an Oscar-worthy performance by any stretch, but it was perfect for the role and for the context for the film. I’d hate to think what Craig would do if Fincher wasn’t there to guide him as Blomkvist—what if whoever they decide could replace Fincher is the same cornhole who managed to get Craig’s worst performance ever? Then where would we be? We’d be f*cked, that’s where.
Then there’s Rooney Mara. In 2010, Mara portrayed Nancy in the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET remake, and while there were plenty of things wrong with that movie, Mara was the worst part of it. Her performance as Nancy was horrendous. She was boring, she lacked emotion, she lacked anything and everything that would have made her a believable heroine, and most of all, she seemed to have left what little acting chops she had at the door. Honestly, if she never acted again after NIGHTMARE, I thought the world would have been a better place. But then… Fincher cast her in THE SOCIAL NETWORK and she brought her A game, delivering a fine performance—but not nearly as fine as her take of Lisbeth Salander in DRAGON TATTOO. Fincher somehow squeezed the performance of a lifetime out of her—a performance that made me forget that this is the chick that sucked so much ass as Nancy in NOES. She transformed herself into the complicated hacker and revealed to the world that not only is she a good actor—but maybe one of the best working today.
And who’s to thank for that performance. Some would say, thank Mara herself. F*ck that. I’m thanking Fincher and his ability to direct the shit out of actors and make them realize their full potential. And this is why he needs to come back to the series and direct the final two films. With Craig and Mara both returning, I’d hate to see what some other director, no matter how talented, will be able to get out of those two. Sure, they have the ground work in the characters as laid by Fincher, but after a few years, that shit will fade. And then what? The stars of DREAM HOUSE and NOES will return together again and make a two-part film that everyone will wish they never did in the first place. But you throw Fincher in the mix and you have a two-part film that will likely not only rock, but may even contribute to one of the best trilogies of all time, right up there with LORD OF THE RINGS.
Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but Sony needs to do all they can to get David Fincher back on board for THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE and THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST. I don’t care if that means waiting a year or two after Fincher’s other obligations are done and over with, or if that means throwing the guy an extra couple million to make the project seem all that more appealing. But it needs to happen. Craig needs him, Mara needs him, and goddamnit, we need him! As a fan of the books, I can tell you that Fincher has the talent to bring Larsson’s vision to the big screen like no other director can. He can make it dark, make it gritty, and provide a style that might be imitated—but never duplicated. Fincher’s the shit, yo. Bring him back and let him show us how it’s done.