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Might THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE Kick Daniel Craig To The Curb??

Published at: Jan. 31, 2013, 9:59 a.m. CST

The Kidd here...

What happened to the Millennium Trilogy? 

Remember when Sony was high on remaking the Swedish language adaptations of Steig Larsson's successful novels, having David Fincher at the helm, with Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig locked up as Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist respectively? This seemed like a surefire hit for the studio, considering how eagerly audiences ate up those initial three foreign films as well as the books, but there's been an incredible lack of motion on the second leg of the trilogy, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, since THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO opened back in 2011 with $21 million domestically (it wound up earning around $102.5 million at the final count of its U.S. run, $233 million worldwide). 

That first film clearly wasn't the big blockbuster that was anticipated, and there are plenty of things that might factor into such - releasing such a graphic R-rated film like that during the holiday season, the marketing, the unfamiliarity of some with the source material - but does that mean there's no spot in the marketplace for films like this if they're not grossing $400 million every time out? 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, there may be rumblings over at Sony once again about getting the trilogy revved up once again... but there may be a price to pay in order for the studio to turn out a film that they see as less of a risk and more of a certainty for big profit. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO ran with a budget of $90 million. Where the hell it was spent is anyone's guess as far as I'm concerned, because that doesn't look like a $90 million movie... but Sony is looking to pinch some pennies and reduce costs if they're going to do THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, and that may mean eliminated one of the leads. Yes, in order to bring the next chapter of Larsson's trilogy in at a more reasonable budget, there have been discussions about getting rid of one of the two core characters in these stories. 

Face meet palm.

Well, they certainly can't give Rooney Mara the boot. After all, her Lisbeth Salander is THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE and THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST... and you can't really adapt those books without her. Daniel Craig's Mikael Blomkvist, on the other hand...? Well, he might be expendable. 

Craig and Mara are both secured for the next two films, as to be expected for a planned trilogy, but money may be the big factor in whether or not Craig stays or goes. Sony wants to cut his take for the next film in order to get that budget down... Craig reportedly wants a raise. And the line in the sand has been drawn, with the kicker being that if an agreement can't be met, Sony is threatening not to recast the role, but to write Blomkvist out of the sequel altogether. Now this could all be jockeying for position, using the leverage of cutting the part in order to get Craig to take a pay cut. However, never make a threat unless you're willing to follow through on it... and the threat of eliminated Craig from the trilogy altogether is downright stupid. 

The script for THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE is reportedly ready to go whenever it's given a green light, and retooling the script to be Blomkvist-less could be problematic if Sony wishes to bring Fincher back to do the second picture. Right now, he has a bit of a window open with GONE GIRL getting him attached but still a ways away from going into production and the continued budget fight between the filmmaker and Disney raging on for 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA. The time to do THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE is now... But if you're going to do it, you'd better do it right, because cutting out one of your leads, even if they do have a reduced role for this chapter, is going to be incredibly noticeable to fans, both casual and hardcore. And guess what? If you lose the hardcore fans, the ones who are guaranteed to turn out at the box office in order to see this remake/adaptation, then you're in a lot deeper shit than you thought you'd be when your budget was a bit higher than desired. 

-Billy Donnelly

"The Infamous Billy The Kidd"

BillyTheKidd@aintitcool.com

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