The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: Steven Zaillian on the difficulties of adapting Stieg Larsson

Last month, David Fincher chose to play it coy when Entertainment Weekly asked about his latest film's Oscar chances. "There's too much anal rape in this movie to get nominated," he said. "I think we're very safe." But he's not safe in the slightest. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, his adaptation of Stieg Larsson's wildly successful novel (55m copies of the trilogy sold to date), is an exquisite work of art, regardless of some of its brutal content. "There was never any pressure from the studio to lighten it up," says the film's screenwriter, Steven Zaillian. "They understood that part of the reason the book is so successful is because it doesn't tiptoe around those issues."

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