The well-respected Scottish crime writer and playwright, Denise Mina, who recently adapted The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for DC’s graphic novel version, was recently interviewed by Casey Burchby for Publisher’s Weekly. The interview revealed some interesting insights into Lisbeth Salander and other aspects of the Millennium series, based on spending months getting inside the head of Stieg Larsson to create the graphic novel. Excerpts follow:
“There are lots of things left out of the films,” Mina says. “All the stuff about corporate fraud you couldn’t really get into a film. It needs documentation or back narrative. [Salander’s] mother isn’t even in the American film. And, for me, that’s what’s most interesting: her mother is brain damaged after being beaten, which I think perfectly explains why [Lisbeth] goes bananas when somebody rapes her. Because she conflates being attacked with that brain damage.”
Mina was also careful to give equal weight to Salander and Blomkvist’s story throughout the comic, whereas Larsson’s novel favors Blomkvist’s point of view during its first half.
“If you have two narrative arcs, it’s much harder in a comic to have them be imbalanced,” Mina explains. “You have [two characters’] stories running in parallel, and they don’t meet until the second volume. So the tension has to be, ‘When are these two important characters going to meet?’ Rather than, ‘Oh, there’s someone interesting in the background.’ ”
In the novel and both films, as Mina puts it, “there is a suggestion that [Salander’s] got some mental disorder—that she’s not quite right. And I think she’s perfectly right. She makes perfect sense to me as a character. In comics, readers are used to having characters with superpowers, and her superpower is that she’s very, very angry.”