Exclusive: ‘Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ Film To Be Set In Sweden, David Fincher Says

'You have to — what, are you going to put it in Seattle?' director says.

Correct us if we’re wrong, but we don’t think David Fincher has ever spoken publicly about “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” his upcoming adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s international best-selling crime thriller.

He’s a famously press-shy director, but when MTV News got a chance to chat with him at San Diego Comic-Con — where he was promoting his plans for an animated feature of “The Goon” — we had to ask him about progress on “Dragon Tattoo.”

Based on the first of Larsson’s three “Millennium” novels, the sprawling story focuses on two unforgettable Swedish characters: Mikael Blomkvist, a disgraced journalist hired to solve a 40-year-old missing-person case, and Lisbeth Salander, a dark and damaged hacker who joins the investigation.

The assumption has been that Fincher would somehow Americanize the story, perhaps moving the setting from Sweden to the U.S., but as Fincher told us in his only Comic-Con interview, that’s not his plan at all.

“Stockholm. Uppsala. In the north,” he said of the film’s planned location. “You have to. What, are you going to put it in Seattle?”

Thankfully not. Larsson’s book is steeped in an atmosphere of foggy Nordic islands and gritty Stockholm back alleys. From the missing woman’s large and wealthy family to Salander and Blomkvist themselves, it’s hard to imagine any of these characters getting an American makeover. Fincher, smartly, isn’t even going to try.

Daniel Craig has just signed on to play Blomkvist , while a wide net is being cast to find the right Salander. Among the names mentioned to play the tattooed, motorcycle-driving hacker are Rooney Mara (“The Social Network”), Emily Browning (“Sucker Punch”) and two newcomers, Sophie Lowe and Sarah Snook.

When asked if he’d found his Salander yet, Fincher replied simply, “Nope.”

Will she be an unknown or a more established actress? “Yeah,” he said.

OK then! The director, however, did go on to deny the idea that he’ll shoot “Dragon Tattoo,” set for release on December 21, 2011, alongside adaptations of the other books in the series — “The Girl Who Played With Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest.”

“No, there’s no plans for that right now,” he said. “You got to make one that people want to see a sequel to before you can make a sequel.”

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Check out everything we’ve got on “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”

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