girl with dragon tatoo

Still shot from 'The Girl with the Drago Tatoo'

”The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”

*”The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” books have resonated with over 65 million readers and rightly so because it delves into many salient issues. Pursuant to that fact, the film has many truisms, making reference to inconformity, appearance, guilt and one of my favorites—people behaving badly but celebrated by the public.

When The Film Strip asked director David Fincher (“Panic Room” with Forest Whitaker, “Se7en” starring Morgan Freeman), Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara about theirs, they had none. Fincher did say, however, “I feel like that there were specific things that sort of illuminated points of view of different characters but, you know, we were not trying to make something that’s quotable on mugs.”

Talent aside, it is incomprehensible to imagine anyone else in the role of Mikael Blomkvist other than Craig. With respect to people’s made-up opinion about him fitting into a particular mold, he could care less. “The less you think about what other people think about in this industry, the better and the more original you can be. You can’t go into a project thinking, ‘Oh, how would these people like it? How would those people like it?’ You’ve just got to get on with what you want to be [and be] single minded about it. You can’t please everybody.”

Mara, who nailed her character Lisbeth Salander, made mention of the fact she just followed her instincts. “To be honest, I didn’t really think much about what other people imagined it to be. I just, you know, used what I imagined it to be. And I had read all three books. And I had a really clear picture of who this girl was. And luckily David’s idea was pretty similar.”

What was it like for you, Daniel, aka 007, to put your heroics on the back burner and let a woman flex her muscles?

DANIEL CRAIG: The most important thing about this character for me was to make him as real and as believable as possible. That was constantly on mind. I wanted to put the reality into this. He gets shot at and he runs away. I mean, screaming, like anybody else would. That was really the key. It’s just what I love about this character and this relationship that he has with Salander. He doesn’t have to prove he’s a man. He’s a nice guy. He doesn’t have to go around beating his chest. And he’s very happy to fall into this sort of relationship where she’s literally wearing the trousers.

Was there ever any trepidation doing this film since the Swedish version is still fresh in many moviegoers’ minds?

CRAIG: It doesn’t worry me, no. I think that the source material is good enough. And I think that everybody wins in this situation. We have sixty five million readers of the book and we have lots of people that have seen the Swedish/Danish version of the movie and we may get millions of other people to see this movie. And everybody’s going to go back and read the book and watch the Swedish version. It’s a win/win.

Rooney, in 2006 you created the Kenyan Orphans Charity Faces of Kibera after visiting that country. How is it doing?

ROONEY MARA: We just recently merged with Uweza. And, you know, we don’t have these huge crazy goals. We just have a bunch of small sort of little things that make a big difference in a few kids’ lives. And we sponsor kids. We have after school tutoring, a soccer league and started a journalism program. So just little things like that. And it’s doing very well. Thank you.

RELATED: EUR Film Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo; Opens Dec. 21

“Tin Tin”

      There are very few, if any, who can say that he/she has never seen a film by Steven Spielberg  (“Amistad,” “The Color Purple,” “The Terminal,” “Jurassic Park”). And if they haven’t, no doubt “Tintin” will be on their must see list this holiday season. Apparently, this is also the season for films with journalists as key characters Daniel Craig (Mikael Blomkvist), Jamie Bell (Tintin), and Matt Damon as Benjamin Mee in “We Bought a Zoo.” Eager to promote “Tintin,” Spielberg brought his crew recently, too, to promote “Tintin” and held court at the Mandarin Continental.

For twenty-years, Steven, you wanted to put this book on the screen. What drew you to “Tintin”?

STEVEN SPIELBERG: I always felt that Tintin just never dropped the ball. He had laser micro-vision. Like Sherlock Holmes, he had the gift of deductive reasoning. He’d figure things out by taking his problem-solving abilities to solve problems. And I also feel that that’s much the same way that I approach movies. Tintin is a reporter, he’s a journalist, he goes around the world, he looks for a good story to report and then he gets involved in the story. And I’m the same way. I go around the world looking for stories to tell, and once I find a story to tell, I get very involved in the story and I make the movie. So in a sense, I always admired Tintin’s preoccupation with the MacGuffin, so to speak. He always has his eyes on the prize.

What relevance does a story that takes place in the 1940s have in the 21st century?

SPIELBERG: The thing that I was excited about with this story, is how important it is to know who your friends are. And to remain loyal to [them], despite the mistakes that are made, the misunderstandings that commonly occur, that you have to be able to forgive and move on. Remember the values of friendship—that’s what Tintin and Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) learn to achieve with each other.

Jamie, Steven says you invested Tintin with a great degree of yourself. How so?

JAMIE BELL: Well, I’m more of an armchair traveler like Hergé (book’s author) was. Hergé was a guy who really didn’t travel the world that much at all. He would buy “National Geographic” magazines and sit in his armchair and draw it. He’s a beacon of excellence for children, his moral compass is pointing in the right direction. He’s a document of the 20th century. He was the eyes of an ever-changing European continent at that time in history and the spirit of that is timeless. He’s also a character who relies on nothing else other than his own natural, fearless, heroic instinct. And that’s a great message—you can be great just by being yourself.

“We Bought a Zoo”

      “We Bought a Zoo,” based on the real life character Benjamin Mee, shows how to make lemonade when life doles out lemons. After his wife’s death in the film and Matt Damon’s teenaged son becomes unruly, he quits his job at a Los Angeles newspaper and buys a home that has a zoo attached to it. In interviews at the Ritz Carlton in New York, the cast relived their extraordinary experiences and challenges who co-stars were quite often non-verbal and walked on all fours.

Scarlett, was it relaxing not having to glam up on this film?

SCARLETT JOHANSSON: Yes. Contrary to popular belief I had more makeup on this film than ever before. I think one of the main attractions for me in playing this role was actually the fact I was playing a woman who had her own life that didn’t depend on anyone else. She’s kind of forward moving and a motivated woman who’s passion has nothing to do with where she’s going to find her next date or who her next romantic interest is.  The fact that the romance in this film is sort of a product of the story, I think that’s a really beautiful thing.

Although it was great working with the animals, I have a feeling that if you had to choose another career, it wouldn’t be zoo keeping?

JOHANSSON: I don’t know. There are a lot of things that I want to pursue and hopefully, eventually will when all of this falls apart. I work with a lot of non-governmental organizations. I think it would be nice to perhaps, I don’t know if I’d want to start my own, but I think I’d dedicate more of my time to that. I think it’d also be nice to have a vineyard somewhere and have an organic farm or something like that. A really good one, farm fresh and all of that stuff. Something like that.

MATT DAMON: Well, besides writing or directing, Water.org, which I co-founded. I’d probably put more time into that.

It’s a cynical time in this country right now, do you think it’s important for films to show a glimmer of hope because they might not be able to find it elsewhere?

DAMON: I know when Cameron talked to me about the movie very, very early on, one of the first things that he said is, ‘I see this as a piece of joy. This is a piece of joy and I think this is a good thing to put out into the world right now.’ That’s exactly what he said and I always held onto that because I just think I intuitively kind of agreed that that was true.

JOHANSSON: I think historically films are always an opportunity for people to escape into two hours of someone else’s life, someone else’s adventure. It doesn’t always have to be doom and gloom to reflect mirrors of truth. I certainly think that this film has a lot of love in it, but it’s complex. These are real people that are dealing with grief. They’re dealing with finding their own identity. They’re struggling to make human connections and then making them and juggling them and figuring out who they are as they’re reflected through other people and their experiences. There are a lot of complex things in this story. I don’t think it needs to be just a big old fun and crazy animal movie or even something that’s dark and twisted so that people can emote and relate.

COLIN FORD: Whenever anyone asks me what it felt like to be on set everyday at the zoo the only word that I could use to describe the feeling and the experience was magical. I think our zoo experience was so magical and I think it’s perfectly displayed onscreen and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.