What I Learned Listening to David Fincher’s ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ Commentary

ON

Tattoos, Nudity and Merkins

Yorick van Wageningen in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Yorick van Wageningen in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Photo: Columbia Pictures

Fincher talked to people he knew that had been through “hideous abuse” before shooting Lisbeth’s rape of Bjurman and asked, “Would he be naked?” and all of them said, “No, I wouldn’t want to see — even if I was going to sodomize him with a dildo I wouldn’t want to see his naked body.”

However, after shooting the scene with him with his clothes on it seemed as if they had copped out by showing Rooney naked and not showing Bjurman naked. So they reshot the scene with Yorick van Wageningen wearing a Speedo and they digitally added his buttocks.

Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Photo: Columbia Pictures

Sorry, I had to censor the above photo, but for anyone that’s seen the movie you know what is behind the blur. As for this scene, Rooney asked to have a merkin made for her.

“She asked to have a pubic wig,” Fincher says. “She felt a little uncomfortable in front of everyone and she also pointed out that in the book Lisbeth is naturally a red head and that she dies her hair black so she came to me with this plan, and she had this little strand of red hair, and she said, ‘I’m going to have a merkin made in this color, are you okay with that?'” Fincher told her to do whatever made her feel comfortable and then adds, “I believe in Japan we had to put a mosaic over it because fake pubes are considered to be… nasty.”

Finally, sorry, again no picture since it’s not safe for work, but Fincher says the tattoo on Lisbeth’s chest is her mother’s name and the date her mother died.

The Many Takes

Rainy block
Rainy block
Photo: Columbia Pictures

The first time you meet Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) is shot in the actual Stockholm courthouse Blomkvist would have been tried in had this been a real case and Fincher adds that in order to get the rain effect he wanted, which totalled a block-and-a-half worth of rain, they took two days of setting up rain towers. The scene ends up occupying 23 seconds of the film and took half a day to shoot.

The family tree wall that you see in Blomkvist’s Vanger apartment had to be continually reshot because scenes would be cut and the story continued to change.

Several takes, 14 porterhouse steaks
Several takes, 14 porterhouse steaks
Photo: Columbia Pictures

“Poor Daniel, the day we shot this they were actually eating real steak and we probably shot like 18 takes of the master, we moved in on the over-the-shoulder and by the time we turned around to shoot his close-up he’d probably eaten about 14 porterhouse steaks.”

~ David Fincher

Fincher discusses how great everything worked in one scene when Craig catches the bottle of water after it rolls off the top of the refrigerator and the camera pans to see Scotty the cat hitting his mark. Then he reveals they still did two takes after it. The take they ended up using, by the way, he says was probably something like take 16. He says he has no idea why they shot two more takes, wondering if he actually thought he could get something better than what they ended up with.

Another scene he says took about 16 takes features Lisbeth eating a Kex bar and drinking coffee. Fincher tells us that since Mara weighs about “83 pounds” (his words) and ended up eating about nine Kex bars and drinking 18 shots of espresso that she was visably shaking after shooting the scene.

Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Photo: Columbia Pictures

Fincher also comments on the continuity of Lisbeth’s wig during the montage near the end of the film and says her “bangs tend to recede depending on what country she’s in.”

The Casting

Goran Visnjic in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Goran Visnjic in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Photo: Columbia Pictures

Armansky (Goran Visnjic) was originally written to look more like a gangster in his mid-50s and some of the people they were looking at casting looked more like they belonged in “The Sopranos” than in Stockholm.

After asking Gore Verbinski about whether he should hire Stellan Skarsgaard, Verbinski said to Fincher, “Get him.”

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5

Box Office

Weekend: Aug. 22, 2019, Aug. 25, 2019

New Releases