“and then we bleached rooney’s eyebrows…”

by ali hoffman

Whether you're a fan of David Fincher, obsessed with Stieg Larsson, or crazy for Rooney Mara, we've got a feeling you're dying to see The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. But aside from the dark and twisty plot and the director's sleek aesthetic, the film's costumes (particularly Mara's character Lisbeth Salander) have already generated a great deal of buzz. This, of course, is all thanks to costume designer Trish Summerville, the genius behind Salander's carefully badass look.  We sat down with Summerville yesterday to pick her brain on David Fincher's genius, Rooney Mara's transformation, and her highly anticipated H&M Girl With A Dragon Tattoo collection, which just so happens to hit the rack today. 

Was this the first time you worked with David Fincher?

No I was an assistant costume designer on The Game and I've worked with him on many commercials over the years.  I think we found a good grove together. He's amazing. I would be content working with him for the rest of my life (laughs), but I can't speak for him!

Were you a fan of the books before you got the job?

Ironically, I had just gotten the first book a week before I got the phone call- Ceán Chaffin (producer) called me and told me about it, and of course I'm so excited inside, but I was like trying to play it all cool.

Do you think people need to have read the book to enjoy the movie?

I think we're really close to the book, so I think that if you're someone who's seeing the film and hasn't read the books, it's really easy to follow along because he (David Fincher) gives you the same clues that they do in the books. And if you're someone that has read the books, I think you really appreciate that you get the things that are so close to the book. What you get from the film is so much detail and so much texture.  Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig are so amazing in the film, they make such subtle choices that you completely get enraptured in the film.

Did you enjoy working with Rooney Mara?

We had a great time.  And I really learned a lot from her.  She was so brave on so many levels, and she really inspired me to live my life more fearlessly. Her transformation was amazing…in her passport photo- her old self- and then looking at her work visa, which is like her new self.  It was incredible.

Was it hard for her to cut her hair off?

She really was brave! When Danilo (hair stylist) cut it, he braided it first, and it was like eight or ten inches.  And he just handed her this braid (laughing)! And then we bleached her eyebrows, because originally David wanted to shave them off. That's the only thing I saw Rooney kind of panic about, like, "he's shaving of my eyebrows?!"  And for us it would have been really difficult because we would have had to keep shaving them once or twice a week. So we decided to bleach them instead and that effect was so interesting. All of a sudden it made her eyes stand out and we realized how strong her cheekbones were.  And it just kind of solidified the whole look. 

When creating Salander's look, were you careful of not going too punk or too hard-core?

Well with the film, we really wanted to stay close to the book for Salander (Mara's character), and there's not a lot of descriptions in the book of her clothing.  One of the things I really wanted to be clear about is I didn't want her to look like she was in a rock band or punk band.  I wanted her to be really authentic, and keep her a very nocturnal kind of creature.  You know she drinks a lot of coffee. She's up late at night; she's inside a lot. So at no point did I want her to have all these shiny, bright silver studs or a spike collar, or patent leather, or fishnet stockings. We didn't even put her in any platform shoes, because she's very agile and sleek. She just kind of sneaks in and sneaks out. She can fade into the shadows when she needs to or when she desires to. The thing about her that needed to be frightening was her- and not so much her clothing.

What's your favorite piece in the H&M collection?

That question is really hard because I have so many favorite pieces.  I love the Swedish-American flag shirt because of what it represents for us. And I love the drop-crotch sweatpants because I travel a lot and those are my number one pants to wear on an airplane.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo hits theaters December 21st! H&M Dragon Tattoo Collection hits stores today! And if you live in New York, stop by the H&M Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Pop-Up Shop, open today-12/16!

Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander

Noomi Rapace in the Swedish version of the film.

H&M Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Pop Up in NY

H&M Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Pop Up in NY