The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo sequel, The Girl In The Spider’s Web, is in cinemas on 21 November, and it’ll give audience members more used to Claire Foy’s work in The Crown a bit of a shock.
Foy replaces Rooney Mara as central character Lisbeth Salander – the bisexual world-class computer hacker who teams up with disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist to solve mysteries.
Foy’s a revelation in the role, making a complete transformation in her edgiest performance to date.
Salander has a background of abuse, which inspires her to embark on a mission of revenge against men who hurt women. Because of that backstory, the typical Hollywood approach to shooting leading women could have been extremely inappropriate.
As Foy appears in varying degrees of undress, and is even naked in the film, Yahoo Movies UK asked her what discussions she had with her director Fede Alvarez about those sequences, discovering Spider’s Web was originally meant to go a lot further.
Yahoo Movies UK: The male gaze could potentially destroy this film, you’re in varying degrees of undress, you’re naked at certain points. What conversations did you have with Fede about that, and what did he say to make you trust him?
Claire Foy: “Very honest ones. At one point I said ‘Fede, you’re a middle aged, white man.’ Yes, which may have been hard for him to hear. I was just very honest about it. I had to be. I couldn’t be in something where I was questioning that, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable. And so I made him justify himself. Not in an aggressive way, I just had to have that conversation.”
“I felt very strongly that she’d been so taken advantage of, this character, in so many different ways, the last thing I could do is feel I was betraying her in some way. And so he never really had to convince me.”
“There were certain things I was absolutely immovable on, where I said ‘You’re going to have to just think of another way around it.’ And there were other things we completely agreed on, he completely understood.”
“There were originally sex scenes in the movie, and I said ‘Can we just ask the question why that’s in there?’ I am all for anything as long as it informs the character and the story. So we had those conversations and it was really interesting to have people go ‘Oh yeah, you’re right.’ It was really interesting.”
Fede Alvarez confirmed to Yahoo Movies UK that the discussions took place, and that he was supportive of them.
“In a way, she took that responsibility. We both did, but her more than anybody, really being the guardian of not just Lisbeth, but of this female lead, particularly in the times we’re living in,” Alvarez said.
“While we were making the film Me Too was really hitting hard, so it was something that I really needed to listen to her about in a way, and I think I did. It was very interesting for me to see and her and understand how she feels playing that role and being portrayed in certain ways. To never force her to wear more make-up, or wear tighter clothes, things like that, which are pretty common in any Hollywood movie where there’s a female lead.
“But, you know my other movies, it’s always been something that I do. None of them are over-sexualised, Jane Levy in my films has never been in super tight clothes, or being super sexy or anything like that, it’s never what I go for. I try to be more fair with the character and not oppress the actor or the audience with a character that’s perfect and bigger than life that you can never achieve that as a human being, so I always try to avoid that.”
The Girl In The Spider’s Web is released on 21 November.