“We flew in people from New Zealand and Swaziland and all over the place,” he says. “Look, we saw some amazing people. Scarlett Johansson was great. It was a great audition, I’m telling you. But the thing with Scarlett is, you can’t wait for her to take her clothes off.”
“I keep trying to explain this,” he goes on. “Salander should be like E.T. If you put E.T. dolls out before anyone had seen the movie, they would say, ‘What is this little squishy thing?’ Well, you know what? When he hides under the table and he grabs the Reese’s Pieces, you love him! It has to be like that.”
The day he cast Rooney Mara, Fincher called her into his office.
“I said, ‘I need you to come in so I can get a photograph of you on a motorcycle,'” Fincher recalls.
Says Mara, “I was ready to throw down. I was thinking, You either think I can be this girl or you don’t, but I need to move on with my life. He sat me down and gave me this long spiel about all the bad things that are going to come to whoever plays this part. He said something like, ‘Vivien Leigh was incredible in A Streetcar Named Desire, but she will always be Scarlett O’Hara, and you need to be prepared for that.'”
Adds Fincher, “Yeah, and I also said, ‘Have you given any thought about what it’s like to be Ginger on Gilligan’s Island? You may never get out from under it. Are you willing to put your head down, do the hard work, not go crazy?'”
But he knows he picked the right actress for the intense role.
“Oh, man. She’s a weirdo. She’s a great weirdo,” he tells Vogue with a smile.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter earlier this year, Fincher talked about how she prepped for the role.
“We got her an apartment in Stockholm and she kind of disappeared,” he says. “She learned how to ride a motorcycle and got all of her piercings and tattoos. Also, I asked her to learn how to skateboard because you need to stand like a 13-year-old boy. I said, ‘I don’t want you to stand like a girl.’ ”