Fans of the late Stieg Larsson’s fabulous Millennium book trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who played with Fire, The Girl who Kicked the Hornets Nest) will be familiar with the original trilogy of the Swedish language made-for-TV films which were cut down for an international theatrical release. Such was their critical and cultural success that Hollywood inevitably remade the first film with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara in her oscar nominated role as the iconic Lizabeth Salander.
Impeccably directed by David Fincher it still cost $90m – a lot of dosh for an effects free film but still made a respectable $232m worldwide but perhaps not enough for Sony to want to commit to the next two book-to-film adaptations especially as the two books were essentially one long story.
The background to the books is a story in itself. Larsson was a respected journalist who had written extensively about right wing groups in Sweden which had made him a target to them. Consequently he never married his long term partner as the marriage would have been a matter of public record and his address easy to locate. The books he wrote almost as a hobby and delivered the manuscripts to his publisher shortly before he dropped dead walking up the steps to his home. The fallout to this was that the authors father and brother inherited his estate and the royalties from the books whereas his partner who understandably contested this came out with very little. Apparently Larsson had mapped out stories for at least six, maybe more, books in the saga which were all locked away on his laptop.
It seems that after years of wrangling some sort of agreement was made and a fourth book based on some of Larsson’s notes was written by David Lagercrantz entitled, The Girl in the Spiders Web which involved the same lead character and centred around an autistic boy. And its that book which was now been adapted for the screen with director Fede Alvarez attached. Alvarez’ most recent film was the rather good, ‘Don’t Breathe’ which made over $151m on a $10m budget and before that he made the Evil Dead reboot which again did respectable business. With Sony baulking at Fincher’s budget it seems they’re keen on Alvarez to do it for considerably less and if that’s a success it seems the studio will go back to make ‘Fire’ and ‘Hornets Nest’.