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First Look: The Girl in the Spider’s Web

It’s been seven long years since David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was released on the big screen, but finally – in 2018 – we have a follow-up. Don’t expect a straight-up sequel, though. This new Lisbeth Salander thriller’s due to be quite different indeed. The Girl in the Spider’s Web film arrives in UK cinemas in November with a totally new look: new director, new lead actress, even new source material…

The film is the fifth to be made from the ‘Millennium’ canon of Steig Larsson’s and the second English language outing. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest were all adapted in their native Sweden, with the first getting the Hollywood makeover back in 2011. Many expected the next movie to be a remake of Played with Fire, but Sony Pictures have decided to take a slightly different route.

Larsson had originally planned to write ten books centred around the no-nonsense avenging angel character of Lisbeth. A black-clad computer hacker and all-round badass butt-kicker, her literary (and, in turn, cinematic) journey looked to have been cut short when her Stockholm-based creator died of a heart attack aged just 50. That was until fellow Swedish author David Lagercrantz picked up the Salander-shaped baton and wrote books four and five in the series (The Girl in the Spider’s Web and The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye), both to critical acclaim.

Sony have decided to adapt Lagercrantz’s first Millennium book (which is actually a sequel to the events of Dragon Tattoo). Not only is there a new writer behind the source material, but there’s a new director in the chair and new leads too. Don’t Breathe‘s Fede Álvarez is on directing duties, with The Queen‘s Claire Foy taking on the challenging role of Salander. Replacing Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist is Swedish actor Sverrir Gudnason. Completing the cast are a cavalcade of Danish, Dutch, German, Bosnian and American actors, lending the piece a truly international flavour.

There’s plenty of talent involved, including Atlanta‘s LaKeith Stanfield as an NSA security expert tracking Lisbeth, as well as parts for British comic actor Stephen Merchant and the character actor that – as Ed ‘The Co-Ed Killer’ Kemper – stole the brilliant Mindhunter series, Cameron Britton. Perhaps the most intriguing addition to the film comes in the shape of the man behind the screenplay, Steven Knight. The Peaky Blinders creator is at the top of his game at the moment and is almost a hallmark of film and television quality.

From a recent interview Knight gave to Collider, it looks as though we can expect something slightly different for this fifth adaptation:

“It was great fun to do because of the central character. With The Girl in the Spider’s Web, the girl is really the central character. She’s the whole thing. It’s not really about Blomkvist at all.”

“It can’t be anything other than a sequel, but a couple of books have been skipped, so it is different, in that sense. It’s really taking a very strong central character and thinking, how do you execute this? It’s quite different.”

Early word on the film is that it’s every bit as dark and grim as you might imagine. And then some. It’s expected to receive an ‘R’ rating in the states and an ‘18’ over here. Ordinarily, filmmakers and their backers look to avoid these kinds of certifications wherever possible, but given the violence that’s etched into every character and plot twist, to edit for more ‘accessible’ ratings would surely only dilute the thing and rile up the fanbase.

How far will they go here? Well, it’s not easy to say. But anyone who’s seen Don’t Breathe or the reboot of The Evil Dead will know that Fede Álvarez doesn’t exactly shirk from scenes of strong, powerful women ‘rolling up their sleeves’, if you catch our drift.

Everything sounds promising, doesn’t it? We’re excited to see the results…

The Girl in the Spider’s Web film is due to be released in cinemas on 9 November. Check back shortly after that date to find out what we made of it.

Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

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