Fede Alvarez and Claire Foy give us a preview of The Girl in the Spider’s Web
Last week, we got the chance to check out some footage from The Girl in the Spider’s Web, a “soft reboot” of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo universe. Starring Claire Foy (The Crown) as Lisbeth Salander and directed by Fede Alvarez (Evil Dead), the pair were on-hand for a Q&A after screening about 20 minutes of the film.
No official synopsis of Spider’s Web is available yet, but judging by the footage we saw, it is a high-octane thriller with lots of bad-ass action performed by a bad-ass chick. We see Lisbeth dishing out physical and financial pain for physical and financial indiscretions, before being asked to steal back a computer program from the NSA. This, naturally doesn’t go well, and sees shadowy government men trying to kill Lisbeth. In the last scene we are shown, she is racing away on a motorcycle across a frozen lake, which cracks as she whizzes across.
Alvarez, a big fan of the Dragon Tattoo movies, said that he has “always wanted to play in that playground.” He has been working on this project for the past two years, and was grateful that he was allowed to write the script. What was important to Alvarez was making the film about Lisbeth. “This is the first film about Lisbeth,” Alvarez says. In previous films, “you follow her, but Blomkvist is who you connect with.” Blomkvist is the journalist who often works with Lisbeth, a computer hacker who Alvarez calls a “feminist Batman.”
Foy is best known for her role as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown. Playing a proper British royal is a far cry from playing a queer, vengeful, action hero. While the footage we saw shows Lisbeth in an intimate relationship with a woman, Foy is hesitant to call Lisbeth a lesbian. “Lisbeth rejects labeling,” she explains. “She lives entirely as herself. Therefore, she will seek pleasure where she seeks pleasure, whether that’s with a man, or a woman, or on her own.”
“You can trust in an audience loving a difficult character,” Foy continues. “She’s not lovable, she’s not polite, she’s not pretty, she’s not everything you think a female protagonist is supposed to be. She’s hard and she makes really terrible decisions, and you don’t know if you can get behind a lot of them.”
Foy takes great solace in knowing that this film didn’t come about just to jump on the #metoo bandwagon. “The interest in Lisbeth has always been there. Much like the #metoo movement, it isn’t because it is timely or because it is suddenly in the zeitgeist or is newsworthy. The difference is that people are now talking about it openly instead of just ignoring it.”
Alvarez is proud that Foy was the “guardian” of Lisbeth Salander. “She made sure it wasn’t exploitative. We had discussions about the way that, like, the camera would move and she would say, ‘You are a white male, Fede, don’t forget!'” Alvarez again brings the comparison back to other female superheroes, who he notes may be badasses, but also makes the women look “impeccable and pretty in tight clothes.” “At least in this one, we didn’t do any of that,” he says. He is proud that the way the character is treated has never been seen before in a movie of this size.
“I refused to wear a padded bra,” Foy quips. “That’s my victory.”