The Girl Who Played With Fire  

by director Daniel Alfredson

It’s lucky we can deceive ourselves. Of course I understood that we would film over one hundred days and nights. That we would make both The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest in succession. That summer would become winter. That before we finished, snow would replace green lawns. That darkness would come. As we neared December, we’d have only three hours of daylight, if that. We planned for that. Studied the sunrise and sunset tables. Decided to film the exterior scenes when the chances of snow were minimal. Found all these locations, and all these actors who would grow into all these characters. Tried on all the costumes, and experimented with make-up. Of course, I had experience filming long projects before, but nothing this long. Never with so many actors. Never with a lead character like Lisbeth Salander. Who almost never has any dialogue. Who is almost always alone. Communicates with a computer. Seldom, almost never, with other people. How was this to become film?
It’s lucky we can deceive ourselves. We knew the tempo would be intense, and night filming tough, and that for us, it would be complicated. And, damned if we don’t stand there on day one and think this will go well. If we just fix this week, everything will be solved. We pretend that if we can just get through this, the rest will be choreographed like a dance! Of course, it’s not like that. Every week has its challenges. Every day has its very unique difficulties. Every scene can be a new struggle. That’s when self-deception sets in. As long as we pull the wool over our eyes, we come to the film location with the same assurances, day after day. If we can just fix this, everything will be fine. Even if the night-shoots leave their marks as forms of sleep deprivation, we’re proud to get it done. And if we just get through tomorrow, everything will keep rolling along. And so we continue. For one hundred days.
It’s lucky we’re not alone when we make films. It is a team effort where every individual, from assistant to extra, must do his or her very best. Otherwise we fall helplessly behind schedule, and the production budget falls apart. It also can’t rain when it isn’t supposed to rain. And, for that matter, it can’t snow either.
We had the most unusual luck during the Millennium filming. We managed to avoid the temperamental Swedish fall weather. And we had a team of crew and actors that surpassed expectations every day. I suppose we can say our calculations included a certain amount of luck, and luck found us there. For one hundred days.
And on upcoming film productions, I’ll remember only that everything went well. And again I’ll focus on deceiving myself. If we can just fix this first day, or this first week, everything will work out for the best!
(translated from the Swedish by Yvonne Ericson)

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