Eva Gabrielsson, the longtime partner of Stieg Larsson, has made her displeasure over the use of Larsson’s legacy known almost constantly since his death, when Larsson’s brother and father were given control over his estate despite her life partnership with the writer. She has spoken out to the media and in her memoir against Larsson’s family, against the Swedish laws denying her rights, and now against the new David Fincher film adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (to which she declined an early screening invitation).
In a latest attempt to uphold her steady vision of Larsson’s morals and intentions – and those of his characters – Gabrielsson told the AP last week that Larsson wouldn’t have approved of merchandise being linked to his story, as it has been through H&M’s Dragon Tattoo Collection, inspired by Lisbeth Salander and designed by Trish Summerville, the costume designer for Fincher’s movie.
In that same story, Eva insisted that Larsson would have instead used the buzz around his work to call attention to the central issues of discrimination and violence against women. “We would never have sold any rights for merchandising,” Gabrielsson said. “It has nothing to do with books.”
She expressed concern that the political dimension of Larsson’s books, including the feminist undertones, is being overlooked by the recent movie and its hype. She claims Larsson wanted to show that gender imbalances exist even in Sweden, one of the world’s most egalitarian societies.
Rooney Mara, who plays Lisbeth Salander in the Hollywood movie, suggested at a news conference last month that Salander isn’t a feminist, and doesn’t see herself as part of any group or subculture. “Does she know what film she has been in?” Gabrielsson said, disbelievingly. “Has she read the books? Has she not had any coaching?” Eva insisted that Salander’s “entire being represents a resistance, an active resistance to the mechanisms that mean women don’t advance in this world and in worst case scenarios are abused like she was.”
What do you think? Does the movie accurately reflect Larsson’s novel? Is Gabrielsson right to keep bringing up the political and social concerns of his work? Or is this a fight that it’s time to give up?