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David Fincher Interview: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

David Fincher, Stellen Skarsgard, Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig and Steven Zaillian arrive for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo premiere, at a central London venue, Monday, Dec. 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Jonathan Short)

More like David Fincher’s Fight Club than The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the  unpredictable and elusive director faced off against a testy press during this conversation for his latest movie in question, about that by now mythic brash babe inked for kinky intrigue. Unfazed by a volley of loaded questions, Fincher stylishly deflected topics like mulling NC-17 ratings even for smoking.

One of the most subversive things in your movie, was smoking. There were so many cigarettes. So why did you make your actors smoke all the time?


DAVID FINCHER: We actually cut stuff down! We were literally going to begin every  scene with a cup of coffee, and a cigarette burning. But you think that’s the most subversive thing about this?

Hey, smoking has become really uncool on screen.

DF: And understandably. But…Maybe that’s part of our hard R rating!

What turned you on about that freaky female protagonist of yours, especially the opening scene?

DF: I liked the idea of this primordial, sort of tar ooze of the subconscious. And I liked the idea that it was her nightmare.

Well, how do you feel about having a bisexual character in such a mainstream film?

DF: That’s only one of two times when Rooney smiles in the movie.

How did you manage to get Led Zeppelin music for the film? I hear that’s pretty hard to do.

DF: Led Zeppelin, they’re very protective. As they should be.  Their music is amazing, and I think they wanted to make sure that we respected it. And it was our intention all along to communicate the idea that we didn’t want to run it into the ground. And it was actually pretty easy. So it kinda went down like clockwork.

Dragon Tattoo seems to have a message that the bad are always rewarded. Any thoughts?
DF: No, I don’t think the bad are always rewarded. And we’re not trying to make something that’s…quotable on mugs.

You seem genuinely interested in police mysteries.

DF: Not really!

Oh, okay. But how about in telling this story?

DF: The mystery of this movie wasn’t that interesting to me. You know, nazis and serial killers.  Or the evil that people do in their basements with power tools. So I liked the thriller, I liked the vessel of that. But I was more interested in the people.

What about any sequels of the second and third books in the series?

DF: Um, classically movie studios don’t make deals with directors, even if there’s a hope that there are going to be sequels. Because they want to make sure that you behave!

What about those reports that you stuck Daniel Craig in a torture device for real?

DF: We rushed in and found that he had passed out. So…we wrapped then! And on the production report it was like, ‘Let Daniel go fifteen minutes early, due to unconsciousness!’

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