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Scarlett Johansson Lost Lead Role In Blockbuster Movie Because Of Sex Appeal

Scarlett Johansson once lost a leading role in David Fincher’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo due to her inherent sex appeal. According to a write-up in Cheat Sheet, Fincher felt that Johansson’s stunning good looks would distract audiences, stating that audiences would be too eager to see her get naked after witnessing her on the film’s poster.

This has apparently been an ongoing issue in Scarlett Johansson‘s career, as her looks have made it more difficult to get cast in intensely character driven roles.

David Fincher thought Scarlett Johansson’s looks would be too distracting in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

David Fincher ultimately chose Rooney Mara over Scarlett Johansson for the role of Lisbeth Salander. Salander is a brilliant hacker and antisocial investigator, who is brutally sexually assaulted in the film before going on a tirade of revenge.

According to Fincher, the role would have been too distracting with Johansson in the cast, as audiences would have been eager to see her engaged in a sex scene, rather than be disturbed and disgusted at the depiction of assault in the film.

rooney mara
Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Clearly, Rooney Mara made a significant impact on The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, bringing the character to life with an incredibly nuanced performance. Mara would later go on to star in such character-driven art films as A Ghost StoryMary Magdalene, and Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley.

Of course, Scarlett Johansson has proved herself to be a formidable character actor as well in recent years, leaving many audiences to wonder what she could have brought to the character had the course of cinema history been different.

After making her first appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe just one year prior to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo with 2010’s Iron Man 2, Scarlett Johansson has gone on to appear in dozens of incredible character-driven films.

Scarlett Johansson made her debut in the MCU one year before The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

While her dashing good looks cannot be denied, many of Johansson’s characters offer a great well of depth, proving that her acting ability is not impeded by her physical appearance.

Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson in Asteroid City

In addition to her nine appearances in Marvel films, Scarlett Johansson has brought dozens of characters to life in incredible art films such as Spike Jonze’s Her, Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin, The Coen Brothers’ Hail Caesar, Taika Waititi‘s JoJo Rabbit, and most recently in Wes Anderson’s star-studded Asteroid City.

In many of these films, Scarlett Johansson’s looks are central to the character’s whom she portrays, such as Under The Skin, where Johansson utilizes her sex appeal to lure men to their unwitting demise, while others, such as Her, allow Johansson to star as a disembodied voice, allowing her the freedom to present herself without any preconceived notions.

Though her inability to be cast by David Fincher served as a brief roadblock for Scarlett Johansson’s career, things likely played out for the best. Rooney Mara’s career was boosted significantly by the performance, which allowed Johansson to move on and focus on other roles, rapidly becoming the household name we know her as today.

Conversely, the role of Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was fought over for months, with Mara aggressively seeking the casting as one of her dream roles


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