Sony Sets ‘Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ Sequel With New Director, Cast

Fede Alvarez hired to direct “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” for October 2018 release

The search is on for an actress to take over the role of punk hacker Lisbeth Salander, last played by Rooney Mara, in a sequel to David Fincher’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

Sony Pictures has hired “Don’t Breathe” filmmaker Fede Alvarez to direct the film, “The Girl in the Spider’s Web,” with a release date of Oct. 5, 2018 locked in. Production on the thriller will begin in September.

Mara isn’t the only cast member not returning to the series: Sony said the sequel will feature an entirely new cast, meaning Daniel Craig won’t be back as love interest Mikael Blomkvist.

In 2015, a source told TheWrap Alicia Vikander was being courted to play Salander in “The Girl in the Spider’s Web, based on the fourth book in the Millennium series and the first written by David Lagercrantz following the death of series creator Stieg Larsson.

The Oscar winner has since been cast as Lara Croft in the upcoming “Tomb Raider” reboot, so it’s unclear if she’ll have time to take on another franchise.

Swedish filmmaker Niels Arden Oplev was the first to adapt Stieg Larsson’s trilogy of thriller novels that began with “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” starring Noomi Rapace as the troubled hacker in 2009. Fincher remade the film in 2011 with Mara taking over the role and garnering an Oscar nomination in the process. Oplev’s film was followed by two Swedish sequels: “The Girl Who Played With Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Horner’s Nest.”

Columbia Pictures president Sanford Panitch announced the latest adaptation on Monday at the London Book Fair, where publishers were touting the fifth book in the Millennium series, also written by Lagercrantz. He shared that Alvarez is currently meeting with actresses to play Salander.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Alvarez said: “I’m hugely excited and grateful for this opportunity. Sony has become family to me and I can’t think of a more thrilling project to celebrate our relationship. Lisbeth Salander is the kind of character any director dreams of bringing to life. We’ve got a great script and now comes the most fun part — finding our Lisbeth.”

“In all of contemporary literature, Lisbeth Salander is completely sui generis – probably one of the greatest female literary characters of all time in my view,” added Sanford Panitch, president of Columbia Pictures, in a statement. “Modern punk defiance personified, she is unforgettable in every incarnation, truly one of the most compelling characters we’ve seen in recent years.

“Fede Alvarez is the perfect choice to direct. Fede is an amazing director with a unique vision of the world. In particular, his talent and skill in creating psychological intensity will bring Lisbeth Salander back into popular movie culture with a roar.”

The “Dragon Tattoo” sequel is expected to come in at a much lower price than Fincher’s film — a holiday release that had difficulty recouping its $90 million budget, not including P&A costs. It was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning one for best editing.

The Millennium series is a worldwide best-seller, with the four books selling over 86 million copies since their debut. Lagercrantz took over writing the Salander books after Larsson’s 2004 death following completion of the original trilogy.

Alvarez’s “Don’t Breathe” was a major hit for Sony, earning $157 million worldwide on a budget of $9.9 million.