'Dragon Tattoo' Star Rooney Mara Says Role Was 'Internal Experience'

Fans of the novel wondered if Mara could live up to Noomi Rapace's 2009 portrayal of Lisbeth Salander.

When Rooney Mara was cast as Lisbeth Salander in David Fincher's big-screen adaptation of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," fans of novelist Stieg Larsson's best-selling franchise immediately wondered if she could fill the shoes once worn by Noomi Rapace in a 2009 film version of the novels.

Even when Mara saw those films, months before she auditioned for the role, she wondered the same thing.

"I saw [the Danish movie] before I ever read the books. And I think she's incredible," Mara told MTV News at the junket for the film, which opened Tuesday. "I left that movie thinking 'I can't do that, I don't even want to try doing that.' "

However, a turning point came for Mara when she finally picked up the novels. "And then whenever I read the books I had a different interpretation of the character," she said. "And then I felt like I had to do it. I couldn't imagine my life without doing it."

Mara had to physically transform herself into the tatted and pierced hacker from the books, emotionally battered but physically strong. While she could have reached out to Rapace for advice on how to get into that headspace, she opted to go it alone.

"You know, I think this is such an internal character and I think playing it is such an, it's sort of an internal experience," she explained. "Even though I felt so supported, it's really something you have to go through on your own. So I don't think we would have much to talk about 'cause it's sort of your own quiet experience."

The flick also features Daniel Craig, Stellan Skarsgård, Christopher Plummer and Robin Wright. It's been garnering high critical praise for its director and cast.

Do you think Rooney Mara can fill Noomi Rapace's role? Leave your comments below!

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