David Fincher says Scarlett Johansson was too sexy for “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”

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In the recent Vogue cover article on It-Girl ascendant Rooney Mara, director David Fincher talks a bit more about the much-sought after role of Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and the reason why Scarlett Johansson lost out to a relative unknown despite an excellent audition. (Mara counts as an unknown, right? I mean, no one actually saw that remake of Nightmare On Elm Street, so…) Long story short: it's because most people agree that Johansson is super, super hot. Says Fincher,

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. 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.

I'm sure Mara loved hearing that, but he's not exactly wrong. Johansson does have the aura of a bombshell, and Salander is described in the books as "anorexic" and generally boyish. Fincher's phrasing rubs me the wrong way a bit — I'd like to think that if she was acting so well you might be able to focus on something other than her body, and how naked it is under those pesky clothes — but I like the sound of his E.T. metaphor. I guess I know what movie I'll be taking my goddaughter to this Christmas!