Biz speculates on 'Dragon Tattoo' remake

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Millennium drives Scandinavian renaissance

Sony Pictures and Scott Rudin's English-language adaptation of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" has been fast-tracked, with a first draft of Steve Zaillian's script expected early this summer.

Although the film will not be a remake but a new adaptation of Stieg Larsson's original "Millennium" crime trilogy, Sony plans to keep Sweden as the setting and not transplant the story to the U.S.

Speculation swirls around the English-language version. David Fischer has been mentioned as a director, Brad Pitt as investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist and A-list names including Natalie Portman, Keira Knightley, Kristen Stewart or newcomer Carey Mulligan as possibles for the role of goth hacker Lisbeth Salander.

But the big question for both Sony and original Swedish producers Yellow Bird is whether the "Girl" franchise will continue beyond Larsson's three novels.

"Larsson originally planned 10 books with the Blomkvist and Salander characters and he apparently completed plot outlines for all of them," says Yellow Bird's Soren Staermose, a co-producer on the Swedish trilogy and the planned U.S. adaptation. "So there is the potential for extending the franchise."

Yellow Bird has the option to adapt those story outlines if Larsson's family, who control the rights, allows them. So far, they are sitting tight, waiting to see how the English version of the series comes out.

Then there is the unfinished manuscript for a fourth "Millennium" book, found on Larsson's laptop after he died of a heart attack in 2004.

"All we know is that he completed around 200 to 300 of the 500 pages of the fourth book and that, when it opens, Lisbeth Salander is in Sachs Harbour on Banks Island in northern Canada with 20 Inuit and 20 thousand Musk oxen," Staermose says. "We don't know what she's doing there, but we'd like to find out."

Larsson's partner, Eva Gabrielsson, has the laptop and the manuscript and is still engaged in a legal battle with Larsson's family over rights and royalties for the "Millennium" series.

Until that dispute is settled, Yellow Bird, Sony and Larsson fans around the world will have to make do with the three books they've got.

-- Scott Roxborough
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