The main actors of the amazing phenomenon ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’, Daniel Craig (AKA Mr. James Bond) and Rooney Mara gave us an exclusive behind the scenes of what it was like to be involved in this project and how they prepared to become the characters that have been followed by 65 million plus readers of the trilogy world-wide. There’s so much pressure coming from different angles from the readers and from the fans of the Swedish version of the film and it’s understandable since this is a story that has captivated so many, but Craig and Mara have such easy going confident personalities that it’s easy to understand why they were chosen for the roles.
ShowBizCafe.com (SBC): How did you prepare for the roles of Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander and what kind of pressure did you feel?
Daniel Craig (DC): The more you read the more prepared [you are] and the better chances you have during the day. Steve Zaillian (Screenwriter/Executive producer) wrote great words, so it’s all there and all you are trying to do in rehearsal is just tweak and make sense of it and make sure it ties up, make sure you know where you are when you get to it because we didn’t shoot one thing in sequence. We shot the end of the movie first; like you always do…I did what I wanted to do. The most important thing for me, was to make his character as real and believable as possible and obviously is another person I play and I deal with it in a different way, not that I kind of was ever thinking about that but you put the reality in it. You get shot at and you run away screaming, like anybody else would. That’s what the key is; it’s that easy. The [more] you think about what other people think about in the industry the less original you can be; you can’t go into a project thinking: “How would those people like it?” You just gotta get on and be reason minded about it, you can’t please everybody.
Rooney Mara (RM): David Fincher (Director) told the casting director to let me know before I went down the long road of auditioning that If I were to get the part I would have to: become a smoker, have to go off and live by myself for a year, I would have to be butt naked, I would have to do a rape scene and I would have to ride a motorcycle; which was the least thing I was excited to do [because] it just seemed dangerous. There was a lot of rehearsal, me and David read the script a few times just the two of us together and all of us sat around quite a lot and went through the script and talk the scenes through with Steven Zaillian. We started shooting in Stockholm, just doing the exterior so, it sort of felt like we had three months to really rehearse before we went back to LA and shot sort of the meat of the movie. To be honest, I didn’t really think much about what other people imagined them to be (meaning the characters), I used what I imagined her to be and I read all three books and I had a really clear picture of who this girl was and luckily David’s idea was pretty similar.
SBC: Daniel, what can you tell us about your character and the relationship he has with the female lead?
DC: What I love about this character and the relationship he was with Salander…he’s not out to prove that he’s a man, he’s a guy [and] he doesn’t have to go around beating his chest and he’s very happy to fall into this sort of relationship where she’s literally wearing the trousers. [They have] have an age difference and she falls for him but she’s not supposed to. It has a lot to do with honesty and trust. They shouldn’t have a relationship, they shouldn’t really meet in life, they come from different social classes but Salander doesn’t trust anybody and there are very few people in her life that are straight with her and he is. She’s broken the law, she’s hacked into his life and he walks in and says: “ok forget that. I think you are great and I’d like to work with you”. [he] doesn’t walk away.
RM: Growing up in NY and LA it didn’t seem that crazy to have a bisexual character, she’s incredibly comfortable with her sexuality and I wanted to do it the same. It didn’t faze me, I didn’t really think about it too much. I think the clothes featured in H&M is more Salander, I wouldn’t call her a fashion icon, but you know the H&M look has nothing to do with me personally. [There wasn’t much] I could do with the costume after shots, the hair was stuck to my head and the eyebrows remained bleached and the piercings that I got that were real obviously stayed in. I expected people to treat me much differently. But, it didn’t really happen, the biggest change I noticed is that when you sort of look slightly off in that way, people sort of pay less attention to you and their expectations of you are lowered and I didn’t mind that; I actually enjoyed it.