At the end of last month we reported that David Fincher had officially chosen "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" as his next project, despite speculation that he was circling the chess drama "Pawn Sacrifice" (it turns out he took a meeting as a consultant on that project).
However, our sources have told us today that not only is Fincher going to direct "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo," he also has an option to direct the second book in the series, "The Girl Who Played With Fire." Apparently, Fincher is very keen on the second book as well and would love to tackle it; with our sources telling us he might even shoot the second book as the direct follow-up to "Dragon Tattoo." In fact, Fincher has been guaranteed a payout if he doesn't direct the second film, which suggests "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" would have to be awful enough that Sony asks him to leave the project which seems to be an unlikely scenario.
The books are massive, weighty affairs and we could definitely see why Fincher, who is known for his meticulous approach, might prefer to dive in all at once rather than break up his work on the films. In the first book, "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" disgraced journalist/private investigator Mikael Blomkvist meets and teams up with trouble teen computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to solve the mysterious death of the niece of a Swedish industrialist. In the second book, "The Girl Who Played With Fire," Salander and Blomkvist tackle sex traffickers in Sweden. But these are really simplified loglines. The Swedish version of the first, uncut, runs three hours long while the second film runs two. We would wager that since this is clearly franchise material, it would probably be more financially sound to get both films in the can at once rather than having two separate productions. But just what happens, of course, remains to be seen.
While Carey Mulligan was previously rumored for the lead role of Lisbeth Salander, Fincher is instead considering going with a complete unknown for that role. The film is tentatively slated to begin production in the fall, most likely when press obligations for "The Social Network" wrap up. That will make two Sony pictures in a row for Fincher and it appears the studio will be the place he hangs his hat for the foreseeable future (the Paramount relationship now seems tarnished as they gave him grief for his three hour 'Benjamin's Button' cut, punished him by not greenlighting "Heavy Metal" — which he took to Sony — and also let the rights lapse to "Torso").