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Goodbye, Rooney. Hello, Lisbeth: The new Girl With the Dragon Tattoo [updated]

January 14, 2011 | 11:26 am

Rooney Mara is becoming Lisbeth Salander for the American movie version of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." Steig Larsson's bestselling novel is being adapted for the screen by director David Fincher.

Fincher's most recent work is "The Social Network," a film in which Mara had a small role as the smart, annoyed girlfriend of pre-Facebook Mark Zuckerberg. Above left she appears at a screening of the film at the Palm Springs International Film Festival Gala. Some wondered whether Mara, who has played characters that are grounded and even sweet, has the edge to play Salander, a sexy, dangerous computer hacker.

People are wondering no longer. In a photo layout in the February issue of W magazine, Mara is transformed. Her eyebrows are bleached, her hair is chopped, and she got new piercings (eyebrow, lip, nipple). In the photos, she poses with a tattoo artist, on a motorcycle, lighting a cigarette, and with a mohawk. "Lisbeth is the goth Pippi [Longstocking]," Fincher tells the magazine.

Has Fincher taken liberties with the story to make it palatable to American film audiences? The magazine writes that Mikael Blomkvist, being played by Daniel Craig, will be "more gentlemanly," Salander will be "more aggressive" and that the book's ending "has been completely altered."

-- Carolyn Kellogg

[update 1/14 11:45am: the original version of this post included a photo of Rashida Jones, a costar in "The Social Network," from a January screening of the film both she and Mara attended]

Photo (left): Rooney Mara in "The Social Network". Credit: Merrick Morton / Columbia Tristar

Photo (right): Mara as Salander in the W magazine feature. Credit: W