The image: Last summer, in one of the most "closely watched casting searches for an actress in years," Rooney Mara won the pivotal role of Lisbeth Salander in David Fincher's adaptation of Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy. Then the debate began: Could Mara — a relative unknown who beat out Scarlett Johansson and Ellen Page for the role — embody the prickly Salander character? Did her brief appearance as a dimpled (if uncompromising) Harvard coed in Fincher's The Social Network offer any clues? Now, at last, fans get to see Mara in character, provocatively posing as the punky, bisexual hacker on the cover of W.
The reaction: Mara's Scandinavian goth makeover is "impressive," says Drew McWeeny at HitFix. "I honestly don't see the girl from the start of The Social Network at all." Yes, "it's definitely convincing and a little bit scary in all the right ways," though the cover of W is an "unlikely choice for a sneering cyberpunk" to make her debut," says Kyle Buchanan in New York. "But let's go with it!" No, "I'm not buying it," says Jason Rehel at the National Post. Salander is supposed to be an outsider in every way, but Fincher and his team have interpreted that as "a pastiche of the last 30 year's worth of subcultures." I guess "that's the magic of Hollywood, folks."