The Witch Anya Taylor Joy

Anya Taylor-Joy
If you kept up with the horror genre of late, there’s a good chance you at least recognize Anya Taylor-Joy. The rising star who had an impeccable cinematic introduction with last year’s highly impressive “The Witch, continued her good fortunes with M. Night Shyamalan‘s surprisingly fun “Split” earlier this year (she also did “Morgan” in-between, but we’ll kindly overlook that one), and seems to have legend-in-the-making status, which makes her a great candidate for Lisbeth Salander. Her expressive eyes contain volumes, and her ability to find the strong and the impressionable in all her characters to date suggests that she’ll find Salander’s strengths and weaknesses with ease. She’s a talent that’ll likely to go places in this business, but wouldn’t it be great if this were the role that propelled her?

Alicia Vikander The Light Between OceansAlicia Vikander
Alicia Vikander isn’t hurting for work these days. The high-in-demand Oscar winner seen in “Ex Machina,” “The Danish Girl” and “The Light Between Oceans” already dipped her toes into high-profile studio projects with “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” last year’s “Jason Bourne” and the currently filming “Tomb Raider” remake. But if she can fit “The Girl In The Spider’s Web” into her very, very busy schedule, she would most certainly be an excellent pick for the part. A good while back, she was rumored to be Mara’s replacement, but there’s no doubt she has the tools to truly transform into Lisbeth Salander, and she’s the kind of high-profile pick we could see both Pascal and Rudin pushing for.

Jasna Fritzi Bauer Axolotl OverkillJasna Fritzi Bauer
Even in the indie scene, people might not recognize Jasna Fritzi Bauer’s name. The German actress is building a healthy profile in her native land with celebrated films like “Barbara,” and more recently with a breakout turn in “Axolotl Overkill.” Similar to how Noomi Rapace became an overnight sensation with the original Millennium film trilogy, Bauer could really hit it big playing Lisbeth Salander. Sony would have to take a shot on a mostly unknown and developing talent, but it could pay off quite handsomely. Sometimes, it’s best to go with someone audiences might not know. After all, it worked pretty well for both Rapace and Mara.

wetlands-movie Carla JuriCarla Juri
It’s possible you skipped out on “Wetlands.” That’s understandable; the gross-out, German coming-of-age dramedy is certainly not everyone’s dirty cup of tea. But you will have missed Carla Juri’s incredible, fearless lead performance, which put her on plenty of radars. She’s since landed roles in “Morris From America” and “Brimstone,” and she’ll likely gain her biggest audience yet this fall with a turn in “Blade Runner 2049.” Juri is a star on the rise, who has already shown quite the range, and Lisbeth Salander could be the marquee part for her best turn yet.

still-of-riley-keough-in-magic-mike-(2012)Riley Keough
It was less than a decade since Riley Keough came onto the scene with 2010’s under-appreciated “The Runaways.” But it hasn’t taken Keough long to prove her immense talents. Whether it’s “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Magic Mike,” or, most notably, “American Honey” and Starz‘s “The Girlfriend Experience,” Keough is having a killer winning streak at the moment, and that’s only expected to continue, especially as she’s set to star in Steven Soderbergh‘s “Lucky Logan,” Trey Edward Shults‘ mysteriously intriguing “It Comes At Night,” David Robert Mitchell‘s “Under The Silver Lake” and Lars von Trier‘s currently filming “The House That Jack Built.” There’s no doubt that Keough would kill as Lisbeth Salander, but with so many opportunities on her plate, she doesn’t really need the role. She’s well on her way to forging her own path to stardom, though we’d still love to see her as the edgy journalist/hacker.

Easy-2 Kiersey ClemonsKiersey Clemons
Whether it’s “Dope,” “Transparent” or “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising,” to name a mere few, Kiersey Clemons always stands out. Her screen presence is electric. And though she was poised to play Iris West in the DC Films universe, that remains a big question mark given the delay and creative fallout going on with “The Flash,” so she’s yet to have her big breakout moment. However, “The Girl In The Spider’s Web” could be it, if she’s given the chance unleash the serious talent she has waiting in the wings. Clemons as Lisbeth Salander could truly surprise us all.

Thoughts? Weigh in with your own choices in the comments section.

  • 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.