Spin­ning a taut tale

> Di­rec­tor Fede Al­varez finds the per­fect Lis­beth Sa­lan­der in Claire Foy for a darker pic­ture of The Girl in the Spi­der’s Web

The Sun (Malaysia) - - THE BIG PICTURE -

WITHIN min­utes of meet­ing Claire Foy for the first time, di­rec­tor Fede Al­varez knew that he had found his Lis­beth Sa­lan­der for The Girl in the Spi­der’s Web – the new cine­matic chap­ter of a story that has gripped au­di­ences all over the world.

For Foy, fresh from her award­win­ning tri­umph of play­ing Queen El­iz­a­beth II in hit se­ries The Crown, that meet­ing was piv­otal, too. She ad­mits that be­fore her en­counter with the Uruguayan film­maker, she was a lit­tle hes­i­tant about tak­ing on such an iconic role.

And what a role it is: Lis­beth is an out­sider driven by a fierce de­sire to pro­tect women. A bi­sex­ual punk-Goth with cropped hair and a slen­der frame, yet as strong as Swedish steel, she is also a bril­liant hacker and sur­veil­lance ex­pert.

Along­side in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist Mikael Blomkvist, Lis­beth fea­tures in all three crime nov­els of the late Swedish au­thor Stieg Lars­son’s best-sell­ing Mil­len­nium se­ries, in­clud­ing the fourth book, The Girl in the Spi­der’s Web, writ­ten by David Lager­crantz, which forms the ba­sis for Al­varez’s film.

In the film The Girl in the Spi­der’s Web, Lis­beth’s past comes back to haunt her while work­ing a case, and that alerts a shad­owy crim­i­nal or­gan­i­sa­tion known as the Spi­der’s Web to try and kill her.

Al­varez ( Evil Dead, Don’t Breathe) prom­ises au­di­ences a dark, psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller set in con­tem­po­rary Stock­holm.

He says: “There is quite a lot of ac­tion in our film. It’s a mix of many things, like the books are, and there are a lot of thrills, a lot of film noir, and lots of sus­pense.”

The di­rec­tor met with sev­eral ac­tors for the role of Lis­beth but once he sat down with Foy, his search was over.

“Claire and I agreed right away on who Lis­beth is and what things are im­por­tant to us and we were eye-to­eye when we were de­cid­ing on those el­e­ments.”

Foy was, at first, a lit­tle wary of step­ping into Lis­beth’s shoes or, to be pre­cise, her biker boots.

“Un­til I met Fede, I was like: ‘I wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole, ab­so­lutely not, be­cause you are ask­ing for trou­ble’,” she re­calls.

“But when I met Fede, he had such a clear idea of what his story was and what the film was – this film has a story of its own – and so then, I went: ‘Oh, I can do that. If you are ask­ing me to do that, I can do it’.”

Foy is, like mil­lions of oth­ers, a big fan of the books. “I first read the books when I was in my 20s and I’d never read any­thing like that be­fore,” she said.

“And I’d never come across a char­ac­ter like Lis­beth – some­body who wasn’t try­ing to be lik­able and wasn’t try­ing to be re­ally good and do all the right things all of the time.

“What I loved was that Lis­beth ap­pears one way to the out­side world – a vic­tim who is small and vul­ner­a­ble, skinny and weak, easy prey – but in re­al­ity, she is com­pletely the op­po­site be­cause she’s tough and intelligent.

“And I think a lot of peo­ple can re­late to that – that they are viewed by the world as some­thing other than what they re­ally are.”

Lis­beth’s part­ner­ship with Blomkvist (Sver­rir Gud­na­son) is at the heart of the Mil­len­nium se­ries.

“Our story is much more Lis­beth­cen­tric,” says El­iz­a­beth Can­til­lon, one of the pro­duc­ers. “The first three nov­els were re­ally about Blomkvist and Lis­beth was there to help him fig­ure out stuff.

“Now she’s a lit­tle more grown up and she is a lit­tle more set­tled into her role as an avenger of women who can’t de­fend them­selves.

“We pick her up in the mid­dle of her life as Stock­holm’s ‘aveng­ing an­gel’ who fights for women. And in our story, her past comes back to find her and she teams up with Blomkvist once again.

“If you’ve seen Fede’s movies, you know that he tends to make things a lit­tle scary and this movie is no ex­cep­tion. It will be a lit­tle bit scarier and more ac­tion. I would say it’s sus­pense­ful and cool.”

Al­varez ad­mits that he has made some changes from the novel. “It’s based on the main sto­ry­lines of the novel for sure and all the main char­ac­ters are here. But it is a de­par­ture in many other el­e­ments be­cause they are dif­fer­ent for­mats, a novel and a film.”

For Foy, play­ing Lis­beth has pre­sented a phys­i­cal chal­lenge, which she has clearly en­joyed.

“There are def­i­nitely more stunts than in The Crown, and no cor­gis!” she laughs. – Sony Pic­tures En­ter­tain­ment Malaysia

The Girl in the Spi­der’s Web is now show­ing in cin­e­mas here. Aliens Love Un­der­pants,

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