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

ON

The Script

'May I kill him?'
‘May I kill him?’
Photo: Columbia Pictures

Fincher came up with the line, “May I kill him?” with the intention of it not being a matter of Lisbeth asking for permission, but more of her asking, “Are you with me on this?” or looking for understanding and she turns to him and wonders, “Are you going to hate me if I do what I feel is just here?”

Fincher said there was no way to take what Stieg Larsson had written and turn it into three acts, and they had to make peace with a five act structure… “similar to a lot of TV cop dramas.”

“Hey, hey” was picked up in Sweden among the crew and it was worked into the film.

Joel Kinnaman and Mikael Nyqvist’s daughter

Ellen Nyqvist in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Ellen Nyqvist in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Photo: Columbia Pictures

The barista that serves Blomkvist a sandwich at the beginning of the film was found at a coffee house the crew liked going to in Sodermalm. As it turned out it, it was Mikael Nykqvist‘s daughter, Ellen.

Nykvist played Mikael Blomkvist in the original Swedish adaptation of the film and Fincher says he stopped by the set one day and was “extremely polite and nice to us, given that we were about to trample all over the memory of his great work.”

Joel Kinnaman in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Joel Kinnaman in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Photo: Columbia Pictures

Joel Kinnaman, who is set to play the lead role in the upcoming RoboCop remake, had a small cameo as Krister Malm. He can be seen twice in the film, once in the beginning and again at the end (pictured above). Fincher says he agreed to be an extra for about three days and that his character is “much more prevalent in the next two stories”

The Music

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

There wasn’t a ton said about the music, but Fincher does mention how in the scene above, where Lisbeth asks Bjurman for money to replace her computer, features a guy using a floor polisher. The inclusion of the polisher was largely due to a musical cue from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross that sounded like “this weird humming machine” and Fincher liked the tone and added the floor polisher to move it into the music of the scene, as well as to get across the point the office building was closed.

Daniel Craig came up with “Orinoco Flow” during the final torture scene. Fincher says he always thought the song’s title was “Sail Away”. He calls it Martin’s “music to kill by.”

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