While Rooney Mara eventually won the coveted lead role of Lisbeth Salander in David Fincher‘s “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” it was an arduous wait and the list of the contenders was fierce. Sarah Snook, Sophie Lowe and Léa Seydoux were said to be the final candidates, and a mix of established and lesser known names like Ellen Page, Natalie Portman, Carey Mulligan, Emma Watson, Mia Wasikowska, Emily Browning and Katie Jarvis were all in the running at various points. However, people might remember that just before Mara snagged the part, Scarlett Johansson was surprisingly being tipped as a “shoo-in.” At the time it seemed somewhat unlikely, but talking to Vogue magazine as part of a profile on Rooney Mara, Fincher confirms that Johansson did indeed deliver strongly at the audition but that she was ultimately just too darned attractive to play the squirrely, oddball and rebellious Lisbeth Salander.
“We flew in people from New Zealand and Swaziland and all over the place,” Fincher said. “Look, we saw some amazing people. Scarlett Johansson was great. It was a great audition, I’m telling you. But the thing with Scarlett is, you can’t wait for her to take her clothes off.”
He continues making a truly strange analogy, but one that basically posits that he wants Lisbeth Salander to be a bit unapproachable—at least until we see who she is in the film. “I keep trying to explain this. Salander should be like E.T. If you put E.T. dolls out before anyone had seen the movie, they would say, ‘What is this little squishy thing?’ Well, you know what? When he hides under the table and he grabs the Reese’s Pieces, you love him! It has to be like that,” he explained.