the_girl_with_the_dragon_tattoo-large2EXCLUSIVE: Every hot young actress in Hollywood wants to play the lead in Sony Pictures’ The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. But will director David Fincher cast one of them — or go with an unknown? This is the studio’s next 3-film franchise based on Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s bestselling Millennium trilogy. It begins with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (there’s a very well-received Swedish version in theaters right now), and continues with The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest. So what’s described to me as “creme de la creme” of young actresses are calling Sony execs as well as producer Scott Rudin and asking if they “can come in for a meeting” about it.

carey mulliganellen-page-inception-04Carey Mulligan, the Oscar nominee from The Education, actually phoned the pic’s writer Steve Zallian and took him to lunch. (Reminds me of that bad joke about the ambitious actress and the writer, but Zallian is also the exec producer.) Juno Oscar nominee Ellen Page wrote a heartfelt note to Rudin. (Her Hard Candy persona is perfect for the part.) Sony execs insist they’re “nowhere near casting”. But Mulligan, Page, Kristen Stewart, Mia Wasikowska, Natalie Portman, Keira Knightley, Anne Hathaway, Olivia Thirlby, and Scarlett Johannsen are all circling.

david-fincherThe problem is that director David Fincher “is not sure if he wants to go with an actress of any note or go with an unknown,” an insider tells me. “David’s process is very specific and private. He’s looking for authenticity and a degree of fierceness and believeability capable of delivering the intensity that the part on the page calls for.” I hear Sony execs think the bestseller itself is such a phenom, and the material so exciting, that the twentysomething female lead doesn’t need a name. On the other hand, they think the male lead does require a star, and the studio is waiting for an answer from Brad Pitt.