Source: Latino Review - December 21, 2011
Did you see the Swedish versions of "The Girl with the
first film I saw and the book I read.
What was it that you wanted to bring to this character
that wasn't brought in the original?
don't remember in detail how much this character was in the Swedish
version but I think it was a smaller role there. I think they spent more
time with all of the Vangers. I didn't have any big ambitions at all, I
had ambitions to work with David Fincher. I wanted to work with him with
whatever he came up with. Then when I saw the script and the beautiful
writing, then it started to become a role. The way he treated the five
minute monologue down in the basement that we worked on and fine tuned
it, then it became a very good role.
Speaking about that five minute scene, how was it with
Craig and him being OK?
unfortunately it wasn't my job to see that he was OK but of course I
worried. When the camera rolls, I cannot worry about it but the moment
they say cut then you say, oh how are you, how are you? But you have to
stay in focus when they're rolling and it's very brutal. It was brutal.
There were no devices to make him breath. He just couldn't breath.
Some people might think there was a hole where he can
There were a couple of times where he had problems due to the lack of
Besides working with Fincher, what was it about the
script that made you want to take the role?
Stellan: If the script was a piece of toilet paper, I still would have
said yes. But Steve Zaillian (Screen writer), I've worked with him
before and he is one of the best writers that there are out there. So I
knew it would not be stupid, I knew it would be intelligent. I knew it
would be well written with a smart dialogue. I saw all that in the first
draft that I read. This combined with the filmmaking of Fincher
Out of all the directors you have worked with, what's
so special about Fincher?
the skills and the tools, total control of the craft, Fincher is the
best of the directors I've worked with. They also have the ability to
use those tools to express themselves and use those tools to create
whatever universe they wanted to. Fincher is extremely skilled and what
is important to him is the soft side of it which is character. He's
interested in the story and no matter how good a story he has, there is
no human being in the center without work. Keeping the pace he has in
this film and the power of the atmosphere he's still able to keep close
to the characters.
How much input did Fincher help you for your character?
very hard to say, he did a lot. You do 40 takes and I go in one
direction for one take, then I suggest another then a next, then a
third, so it's a collaboration. What he's very good at is reminding you
what you might have forgotten or over looked about the character. He's
very good at making sure he gets the kind of material that's necessary
for his film. You can do a great performance but it can also not fit
into the rhythm of the film.
With a character like this would it be difficult to do
some sort of research?
Stellan: No I
did do some research, not that I went out and killed another person but
I read a lot about psychopaths. I wanted to see how they functioned and
what was it that they're lacking. Obviously one of the things is that
they can't feel empathy, it just doesn't exist in them but they're
pretty good at faking it. They're so good at faking feelings that
they're all psychiatrist. Sometimes you can't capture them or discover
them which was very good for me because before they reveal who I am, I
can play who I wanted.
A lot of the film was staged and shot in Sweden, does
that help as an actor to have Sweden as a character in the film?
don't think about it that much when I'm actually playing it but when I
see the film I think of it and Sweden is a strong character. It's not
the tourist board version of Sweden but everything is very Swedish. All
the details are Swedish, they were very particular about that. It was
cool being a Swede and to see Sweden portrayed like that.
The important characters were Rooney and Craig and the
whole issue of trust, would you agree with that?
Absolutely, that's the quality of the original material. They're very
unlikely heroes, a girl who a child who's also the most violent and
fierce in the film but at the same time extremely vulnerable and hurt
and almost autistic. Then the other hero, the male hero, whose not a
hero that goes into fist fights but a very normal and intelligent man.
Then the extremely unlikely combination of these two as a love couple is
fascinating. They way they play it, Rooney's fantastic portrayal of
Lisbeth and Daniel's fantastic portrayal of the less exuberant character
and the kind of relationship those two actors have managed to create is
very beautiful and that is the core of the film.
Yes, he's a journalist and she's a bit more tech savvy.
Do you think that technology has changed a bit?
it has, it's definitely two generations.
Do you like to do more indie films then come out with
bigger films later?
I do is that I constantly go back and forth with the big hollywood films
and the indies. The big hollywood films have the big finance and I
really feel privilege. I enjoy both worlds and I'm one of the few actors
that can go back and forth. This to me is an indie film ever though it
has a budget of 100 million because it's a Fincher film which means that
Fincher spends all the money on screen not on gigantic trailers or
private jets or lavish character. What he wants is to buy time for a 100
million. The last shots we did in September, a year after we started, he
takes the time to go back and re-shoot if he's not sure about something,
if he wants to change something. He will rewrite a scene that he
re-shoot twice and will go back to re-shoot again until he finds
something that he likes.
What was one of the best scenes for you in this film?
what I like about this film is the Fincher-esq, which is the dance in
the atmosphere which makes you sit tight, it's the sound track and the
sound effects which are used in wonderful ways which you can never be
sure what's going to happen, if you're ever safe and you're on your toes
all the time.