This week, Sony gave us a heap of good news/bad news. Good news: they’ve greenlit “The Girl In The Spider’s Web” and it’ll hit cinemas on October 5, 2018. Bad news: David Fincher is not returning to direct. Given how tedious and demanding it was to make his 2011’s “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” that’s not necessarily surprising — even if it’s still nonetheless disappointing. But here’s some more good news: Fede Alvarez, the exceptionally talented filmmaker behind 2013’s surprisingly good “Evil Dead” remake and last year’s horror smash, “Don’t Breathe,” will take on the directing duties instead. More bad news, though: Rooney Mara, who scored an Oscar nomination for her excellent, dedicated interpretation of Lisbeth Salander, won’t be returning for this brand-new reboot.

READ MORE: Review: David Fincher’s ‘Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ Is An Intense But Dispassionate Thriller

Not just any actress can play Lisbeth Salander. Whoever signs on to the project not only needs to live up to Mara’s towering performance but also Noomi Rapace‘s star-making turn from the original Swedish film trilogy. Both commanded the screen, and leave some big shoes to fill. Alvarez, returning producers Amy Pascal and Scott Rudin and the rest of the bigwigs and executives over at Sony have a huge decision to make with this casting choice, and it won’t come easily. Mara was selected from an enormous list of talents — mainly due to Fincher’s firm insistence — and the early names being floated at the moment include Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman (both contenders from early days of casting ‘Dragon Tattoo’). But they’re likely just a start as the global search goes on for the actress to play Lisbeth Salander, and as always, we here at The Playlist are here to help. We’ve rounded out a few of our favorite promising young actresses — all of whom we think will positively ace it if given the chance.

Without further ado, here’s our web of choices for Lisbeth Salander in “The Girl In The Spider’s Web.”


Jane Levy
Hollywood loves repeated success. If something worked once, try to make it work again! If it worked twice, well, see if it’ll work a third time! Indeed, Jane Levy and Fede Alvarez already have a dynamite work relationship together. She brought both confidence and conviction to her lead turns in Alvarez’s two films to date, excellent qualities to color any incarnation of Lisbeth Salander. Her screen presence is undeniable, and Alvarez and Levy clearly have a strong rapport. With the writer/director embarking on his most ambitious project to date, why not go with his frequent collaborator? Levy is a great young actress that has proved herself multiple times already, but still has yet to land a true breakout role. If she scored the part of Lisbeth Salander in Alvarez’s upcoming adaptation, she’d get all the attention she deserves.

tatiana-maslany-orphan-blackTatiana Maslany
Few working actresses are as versatile as Tatiana Maslany, the actress behind multiple roles on “Orphan Black.” However, Maslany hasn’t found the same success on the big screen as she has on her acclaimed hit series. She was great in the otherwise not-great “Woman In Gold,” and while her work in the indie “Two Lovers And A Bear” got good notices, a substantive big-screen role continues to be elusive. “The Girl In The Spider’s Web” could host the role that truly propels her up the ladder, and it’s one she could truly sink her teeth into.

Zoe Kravitz AllegiantZoë Kravitz
Zoë Kravitz has tasted what it feels like to be in a blockbuster with roles in “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “X-Men: First Class,” and “Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them,” but “The Girl In The Spider’s Web” could make her a centerpiece star. She’s terrifically talented, and might be doing her best work yet on HBO‘s “Big Little Lies.” Her star is on the rise, and playing Lisbeth Salander would skyrocket her ascension, and provide material for her to truly show the depth of her skills.

westworld-episode-8-charlotte-hale Tessa ThompsonTessa Thompson
Tessa Thompson made quite the big-screen introduction in “Dear White People.” As Sam White, the outspoken radio personality who lends the film its controversial title, she filled the screen with more cool-headed confidence than some actors can ever channel in their careers. And with excellent recent turns in “Selma,” “Creed,” and “Westworld,” to name a few, Thompson only continues to impress. Her profile is expected to rise significantly with upcoming parts in “Thor: Ragnarok” and Alex Garland‘s “Ex Machina” follow-up “Annihilation,” and full-blown stardom seems just one key role away. Her characters always balance their fierceness with their sensitivity, and few modern female characters find themselves as morally conflicted as Lisbeth Salander. It would be an inspired choice.

Rinko-Kikuchi 47 RoninRinko Kikuchi
Rinko Kikuchi’s subdued, compelling Oscar-nominated supporting turn in “Babel” is arguably the best part of Alejandro González Iñárritu‘s Best Picture nominee. Not long after that, she proved her talents were no fluke with great turns in “The Brothers Bloom,” “Pacific Rim” and “Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter,” which arguably contains her greatest performance thus far. Indeed, the Japanese actress knows how to greatly resonate even if saying very little, and her comedic sharpness and emotional vulnerability would lend itself perfectly towards playing Ms. Salander. Her performances hold great dramatic power, mostly because they’re also gentle, honest and very human. “The Girl In The Spider’s Web” would be a terrific showcase for her talent.

  • Billy

    Guys, your coverage of new and old films is outstanding and I treasure your passion for cinema. However, reviews, brainstorming and commentary need to be neutral, even handed and truthful.

    They do not, repeat, do not, have to represent your racial, cultural, and political ideology.

    So, when we come this rather silly, but fun idea – 11 actresses that could play Salander – I’ll indulge you and play along. But first thing’s first. Lisbeth is Scandi and white! That’s how Larsson wrote the character and the filmmakers since, have respected. Now, guys – that kind of rules out a third of the actresses you’ve nominated. And as much as I love and admire their work, they are not right!

    I think you need to be very careful about nominating a Japanese, a half cast, and a black woman when the character you’re referring to is none of those things. Now, you might be thinking, what if they were to change the character to a person of colour? (Which Hollywood would never do btw) But if you do this, you must surely know that she is not Lisbeth Salander anymore, but a projection of your racial, cultural, and political ideology. I guess what I’m trying to say is, please, please, please think for a second before posting such a silly article. I will reiterate that I love your site and your commitment to cinema, but please, please, please be truthful to the material that you’re so passionate about.


    P.S. I’m not sure any of those actresses can top Mara’s beautifully nuanced performance, capturing so delicately, the skinny, pale, androgynous girl that just wants a dad in her life. I guess if I had to pick one, it would be Vikander, but I doubt she’ll do it now with Raider on her bucket list.

    • THX11384EB

      Rapace did a much better job than Mara.

    • SlamAdams

      I can’t think of something less “neutral, even-handed, or truthful” then discounting the merits of talent based on physical resemblance.

      • Billy


        I’m not discounting any merit of talent based on physical resemblance – but I do think one has to be faithful to the material and the character that Larson has written.

        On a side note, Rinko Kikuchi would have made a superb Major in the live action ‘Ghost in the Shell’


        • SlamAdams

          Ability to perform should be just as important if not more (much more) a factor to faithfulness than resemblance. Good characters are more than the adjectives used to describe their appearance. Thus far, whatever those actresses could bring to the role can’t be discussed because of the writer’s so-called “ideology.”

    • Pedro

      I get your point but I think it’s a tabu to be broken. Characters should be played by any race regardless the original material. That would open many doors without destroying the story.

      I would love Rinko Kikuchi to do this, she is an actress in need of a powerful lead role. Her work in Babel is for the ages.

      • Billy

        I completely agree, but only on the condition that you are the sole author of the material.

        The idea of adaptation is tricky, because you are using someone else’s story and characters. In this case, Larson(the author of the original trilogy of books for those that don’t know) created a skinny, white, androgynous, tattooed hacker.

        I don’t think its unreasonable of me to state that fact. Whether or not you think it should be changed, and the part should be played by any race is obviously up to you.

        To go back to my original point in my first post, I was simply trying to illuminate that some of the actors that were nominated by Playlist just aren’t psychologically plausible. It’s a very nice thought to think that any actor, of any gender or race is fit to play any part, but it simply isn’t true. Casting is paramount. Fincher got it spot on with Mara. I can only hope that Fede Alverez gets a chance to do the same.

        (Side note: Sweden has seen a huge surge in immigration in the last ten years, particularly from the middle east; Iraq, Iran, Lebanon and Syria and assimilation has not always been easy for them. So if anything, and if the filmmakers do stay in Stockholm and Sweden, then an actress from those countries would be far more appropriate).

        • Kevin Jagernauth

          If you want to see Lisbeth Salander in an adaptation that rigidly adheres to the source material, you already have four movies that have done just that.

    • Saulo Machado

      Lisbeth is a bad-ass hacker who can’t stand the injustice in the world, specially when it comes to the way women are treated. she is a much more rich & complex character than simply a girl with daddy issues (btw i think she couldn’t care less about having a dad in her life)

    • buddy

      ‘ But first thing’s first. Lisbeth is Scandi and white! That’s how Larsson wrote the character and the filmmakers since, have respected.’ Rooney Mara is American with Irish and German ancestry, so according to your strict definitions she wasn’t appropriate either.

    • Clay Castille

      Oh fuck off, the movie should be in Swedish then! Fictional characters! Played by actors!

  • Josh King

    You recognized some great talent. Love Zoe, Kiersey and Taylor Joy

  • Saulo Machado

    what about olivia cooke?

  • Rinko Kikuchi hasn’t had a great role since Babel (2006)

  • Kenny Ritchie

    I would suggest Daisy Ridley.