The director of the original Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo may have his doubts about the upcoming American remake, but what do movie-goers think? We looked at social media conversation to see how fans feel about the Hollywoodification of this massively popular crime novel.
The movie adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s novel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, made more than £2 million at the box office in the UK. While the novel’s cult-like popularity no doubt had a role in its success, other factors helped make this film a box office hit: intricate criminal plots, government conspiracies, Soviet defectors, computer hackers, the fight for justice against the worst forms of violence against women – there’s almost something for everyone’s tastes here.
But two elements immediately stand out:
- First, the peculiarity of Larsson’s main character, Lisbeth Salander, an anticonformist computer genius and extremely skilled researcher for whom any labelling attempt fails.
- Secondly, the Swedish setting constitutes a charming and irreplaceable part of the story (with the exception of the fictional Hedestad, the novel takes place in real Swedish towns), and the peculiar Nordic settings – often isolated, foggy towns in the countryside, or summer cabins – have a powerful fascination even for non-Swedish readers.
The three Swedish film adaptations are exceptionally good – the only problem is: they’re in Swedish.
For many this would be a positive factor, providing added authenticity to the movies. But other, non-Swedish speakers, may lazily roll their eyes at the thought of reading subtitles. This is where Hollywood comes in – always on the prowl to capture a slice of the massive American market.
In 2010, David Fincher started directing a Hollywood adaptation of the book, for release in December 2011. Given the cult status of Larsson’s trilogy, the announcement of a US remake was bound to generate controversy.
We used our Skyttle Search tools to study online conversation around the Hollywood remake. Our analysis of social media and web conversation reveals two intriguing points:
1. Casting of the main character (Lisbeth Salander) is crucial to the outcome of the movie:
One of the top terms used in conversations about the film is “perfect”, used in relation to the casting of Lisbeth Salander.
A closer look at specific references reveals numerous posts calling for the “perfect” Lisbeth:
2. People are huge fans of Swedish Noomi Rapace
With such huge positive buzz for Noomi Rapace, the actress playing Lisbeth in the original Swedish movies, movie-goers are doubtful that anything good will come out of the American actress (Rooney Mara):
Elsewhere on the web, things aren’t looking good for the American remake:
- There is a Facebook group called “I am against an American remake of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo“, whose description reads: “Like this page, if you agree that an American remake of ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ is an utterly unnecessary exercise. The Swedish version of the film (and sequels) is exquisite as-is, without tainting the storyline even further. Just let it be, Hollywood. Have some culture and read some subtitles for once in your life.”
- Niels Arden Oplev, the director of the original Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, expressed his frustration with the US PR machine trying to push Noomi Rapace out of the limelight: “Noomi has captured this part and it should always be all her. That’s her legacy in a way I can’t see anyone competing with. I hope she gets nominated for an Oscar”. (guardian.co.uk)
- Soren Staermose, the Swedish film producer, added: “We did a lot of different casting but we were finally convinced with Noomi. The wrong casting could have ruined it. She is incredible.” (google.com)
What do you think? Are Hollywood remakes always destined to be inferior to the original? Would a US adaptation of Larsson’s trilogy kill the spirit of the original? Will all of this negativity really hurt box office sales?
Comments are welcome below.