The Guy Without The Dragon Tattoo

Daniel Craig i i

hide captionDaniel Craig will play the role of Mikael Blomkvist in the upcoming Hollywood production.

Richard Drew/AP
Daniel Craig

Daniel Craig will play the role of Mikael Blomkvist in the upcoming Hollywood production.

Richard Drew/AP
Michael Nyqvist i i

hide captionSwedish actor Michael Nyqvist as the middle-aged investigative reporter Mikael Blomkvist.

Music Box Films
Michael Nyqvist

Swedish actor Michael Nyqvist as the middle-aged investigative reporter Mikael Blomkvist.

Music Box Films

Madhulika Sikka is the executive producer of NPR's Morning Edition.

I know you've all heard of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the first novel in the Millennium Trilogy that has taken the book world by storm. And you've probably heard they are making a Hollywood movie version of the book. Yes, I'm as enthralled as the next person about who will play Lisbeth Salander, the role of a lifetime for some young actress. Well, actually, whoever gets the role will have a tough act to follow. Noomi Rapace, who has starred in the Swedish version of the films, has been terrific as the troubled but brilliant young hacker who forms an unlikely bond with a middle-aged investigative reporter. Their connection is electronic (literally online), emotional and sometimes sexual, and it somehow works. This is without doubt the most anticipated casting mystery of the decade.

However, the world at large has not taken the time to applaud the choice of Daniel Craig to play said middle-aged investigative reporter Mikael Blomkvist. This will be a big movie. The book series has sold 27 million copies worldwide. Everyone is reading this book — on the subway, on the bus, on a park bench, on the beach. And the Millennium Trilogy tours around Stockholm are sold out. Let's face it: This is like Harry Potter for adults, as one friend described it. So the casting really matters.

I was worried. All sorts of silly names were floating around for the role of Blomkvist, George Clooney and Brad Pitt among them. It is not hard to believe that for Hollywood, a bankable star would be a must for this movie. But really, those out-of-this-world good looks, charm and sophistication — is this who Mikael Blomkvist is? Most definitely not. When I saw the Swedish version, actor Michael Nyqvist looked like, well, Mikael Blomkvist — the one that lived in my head as I raced through all three books. I imagined him as a bit of a schlub. His face would be well worn and a little sad. He would look like he drank too much coffee and ate a lot of junk food at 7-Eleven.

His eyes would be saggy, but somewhere in them he would reveal that he is capable of feeling — a must for a crusading journalist out to expose the corruption and venality of the establishment he has spent his working life battling against.

Madhulika Sikka

hide captionMadhulika Sikka, executive producer of NPR's Morning Edition

Stephen Voss

And, you know, Daniel Craig can do all that. For a start, he can pass as Swedish. I love George Clooney, but really not a drop of Swede in him. Most importantly, Craig has done it before — taken an iconic character and made it his own. I refer, of course, to James Bond. And as I've pointed out before, Craig successfully transformed the literary Bond into the celluloid Bond, and I think he is the man who is going to do the same for Mikael Blomkvist. He has the goods. And because the financial woes of MGM studios mean that the next Bond film is on hold, and in fact may never be made, it appears that Craig was available. So, director David Fincher, thank you from one of those folks who loved the books and are now actually excited to see your movie. And I'll keep my thoughts on the Salander casting to myself!



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