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January 17, 2011  | by: Brandon Kirby

Rooney Mara

Actress Rooney Mara, who recently gained fame as Mark Zuckerberg’s pivotal ex-girlfriend in The Social Network, made a huge physical transformation to become the next Lisbeth Salander in the new The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Images of her transformation appeared for the first time in this month’s W magazine.

After the success of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” last year, it was immediately announced that there would be an American remake, directed by David Fincher (who also directed The Social Network).  Who would play the pivotal role of Lisbeth Salander, previously performed by the talented Swedish actress Noomi Rapace, was not revealed until last August.

Before 2010, the name Lisbeth Salander meant nothing to me. Now, it feels like a household name.

Rooney Mara is Lisbeth Salander

She is the gothic, bisexual hacker star of author Stieg Larsson’s wildly popular Millenium trilogy, which includes the novels “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” “The Girl Who Played with Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.” Originally published in Sweden, the novels gradually made their way into America and took the country by storm.  But the huge notoriety and familiarity of the trilogy we see today is mostly due to the the Swedish film adaptation of the first installment, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) and the two consecutive adaptations that followed.

I was originally skeptical of the American remake. How would Rooney Mara be able to become the character Noomi Rapace so effortlessly created? Now that the first images of Ms. Mara’s new appearance have been featured in “W Magazine,” all of my doubts have subsided. She looks remarkable.

According to the article, Ms. Mara bleached her eyebrows, cut her hair and pierced her lip, brow, nose and nipple all in one day to prepare for her role as Lisbeth Salander.

My other concern was Ms. Mara’s capability as an actress to pull off the vast range and depth of emotion Noomi Rapace brought to the role, which stands as one of the most powerful performances of 2009. This was before I saw the young actress in Fincher’s The Social Network where she lit sparks with just her few scenes. I now have faith she is more than capable to take on the complex role.

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is slated for a December 21, 2011 release date.

Check out this interview with Noomi Rapace on her role as Lisbeth Salander. Do you think Rooney Mara has what it takes to fill her shoes?

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