EXCLUSIVE: Daniel Craig has closed his deal to play journalist Mikael Blomkvist in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, a deal which factors in options for two sequels based on The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest. The novels comprise the bestselling trilogy by late Stieg Larsson.
Deadline told you first about the Craig talks, which back in June were hardly a certainty, because there were so many hurdles to jump. I’m told that with a whole lot of juggling between three studios, Craig will be able to make the movies. Essentially, he will begin work on the first film in Sweden, as soon as he removes his cowboy hat from shooting Cowboys and Aliens in the early fall. Scheduling was coordinated between Dragon Tattoo-maker Sony Pictures Entertainment, DreamWorks partners Stacey Snider and Steven Spielberg–who were flexible on the Cowboys and Aliens schedule–and James Bond rights holders Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson. The latter situation was tougher because of the uncertainty over when the next Bond film will get made–probably with Sam Mendes directing–because of MGM’s paralysis. CAA made Craig’s deal.
This puts Craig in a position no previous James Bond ever was in. He’s got two certain franchises between Bond and the Larsson books, and possibly another in Cowboys and Aliens, which he stars in with Harrison Ford, and for which Craig has an option on a second picture. Comic-Con crowds responded glowingly to footage shown by director Jon Favreau.
Sony Pictures Entertainment, director David Fincher and producer Scott Rudin are in the middle of casting the young actress who’ll play the juicy role of Lisbeth Salander. Deadline previously released those candidates include Ellen Page, Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland), Emily Browning (Sucker Punch), Sara Snook (Sleeping Beauty), Rooney Mara (The Social Network) and Sophie Lowe (Blame).
Sony just dated the film for a December 21, 2011 release. Steve Zaillian adapted the novel for the screen.