August 17, 2010 / 4:17 AM / 9 years ago

Fresh face Rooney Mara lands lead in "Dragon Tattoo"

Actress Rooney Mara in undated publicity photo. REUTERS/Merrick Morton/Columbia Pictures

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Little-known American actress Rooney Mara has landed the lead role opposite Daniel Craig in Hollywood’s version of Stieg Larsson’s best-selling book “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” Columbia Pictures said on Monday.

Mara, 25, will play Lisbeth Salander — the smart but anti-social pixie-haired hacker and investigator — in the sought-after role that reportedly saw the likes of Ellen Page, Natalie Portman and Carey Mulligan as possible contenders.

Craig, best known as the most recent incarnation of James Bond, will play journalist and amateur sleuth Mikael Blomkvist in the movie, which starts shooting in Sweden next month, Columbia said.

Craig and Mara will also appear in U.S. versions of the two movie sequels “The Girl Who Played with Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.”

Rooney Mara is the sister of actress Kate Mara and appeared in the 2010 remake of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and had small parts in TV dramas “ER” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” will be directed by David Fincher and is set for release in December 2011.

Swedish language versions of the three movies have already been released to critical acclaim and have taken more than $157 million at box offices worldwide.

Hollywood, however, is betting that an English language remake of the international best-sellers, will reap benefits. The three Stieg Larsson novels, first published in Swedish in 2007, have been translated into more than 40 languages and sold more than 40 million copies worldwide.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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