Telling it Like it Is: Salander and the Women of Hollywood

Melissa Silverstein, editor of the blog Women and Hollywood, and an important contributor to our book, has recently updated her views about the coming Girl with the Dragon Tattoo film, telling The New York Post that Lisbeth Salander is a perfect antidote to the preponderance of imperiled women we see on screen and an intellectual breath of fresh air. “I think people are tired of seeing the same cookie-cutter women on the screen,” she says.

“This is a character that fights back. She’s smart, and she really doesn’t give a s–t what people think of her. It’s really refreshing. And she comes from a book that resonated with people all over the world.”

More broadly, Silverstein says, Lisbeth is in line with the protest energy sweeping the nation and the globe. “People are ready to say no and fight back,” she says. “I don’t think Lisbeth is particularly a political figure, but I think that kind of sentiment — ‘I’m not taking it anymore’ — is kind of what people are thinking and feeling.”

Silverstein wrote her essay for The Tattooed Girl in early 2011 (“Now Playing,” p. 209), at a time when most people were loudly doubting whether Rooney Mara could possibly be up to the job of portraying Salander and embodying this fighting spirit.

But Silverstein saw the potential, in part because of the way Mara hit it out of the park with her brutal evisceration of and breakup with Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. “If Mara can channel that anger and amp it up a few thousand notches then should could be a great Elisabeth,” she said.

From the trailers, the interviews, and the stills, it’s become clear she is likely to fulfill that promise.

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