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The following story contains some spoilers for the book (and upcoming movie) The Girl in the Spider's Web. Read on with caution if you are unfamiliar with the story, and want to stay unscathed.
When adapting a best-selling novel, it's important to maintain as much about the story that attracted readers, while also figuring out ways to possibly make a narrative more cinematic, or possibly make space for a riveting talent. Fede Alvarez opened up about both aspects when talking about his approach to the upcoming The Girl in the Spider's Web on his movie's set in Berlin. The director was very open to the changes that co-star Lakeith Stanfield is making to NSA tracker Alona Casales, but they sound fresh and exciting. However, when it came to the important character of August, Alvarez knew that he had to hold true, explaining:
That's one of the things I think we have been more faithful to, because [August's relationship with Lisbeth] starts in a place where, as a premise for her story -- as you know from the book -- she's stuck in a situation where she has to suddenly be responsible and taking care of this kid. And she's not really good, with kids. [Laughs] She doesn't want to be. And he's special in his own way, so seeing them together -- last week, we were shooting some of their scenes together, and it was fun because both of them are very awkward. They are trying to connect somehow, but it's very difficult.
Actually, you get to see a lot more here than you get to see in the book. Because, in the book, you only get to see it through a flashback, or someone saw them together, running from here to there. But here, you really get to spend more time with them, and their intimacy, and how they are trying to connect. And how she's trying to not be terrible with him. But she's terrible... which is fun to watch. Being really, really bad with kids. But then eventually, they will find things that they have in common. They have a lot more than what they think. If I say more, I will spoil it. But it's really faithful to the book in a way, but you actually get to see more.
Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy) definitely doesn't strike us as someone who's about to launch a successful babysitting service. So yes, placing a young autistic boy in her care creates a dramatic wrinkle that Fede Alvarez was happy to protect. In the story, August (Christopher Convery) is a young autistic boy who's at the center of a web of deceit that pulls both Lisbeth (Foy) and Mikael Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason) into a conflict with cyber criminals and corrupt government officials. But over the course of our interview, Fede Alvarez confirmed an important aspect of August's character -- his drawings -- also will be maintained. He said:
Yes, there are different kinds of drawings than what's in the book. But he is some sort of an artist here. I think you will like what we did with it. He's, again... I hate to spoil it, but he does do drawings.
From all that we learned on the set of The Girl in the Spider's Web, Fede Alvarez and his cast and crew are doing what they can to bring David Lagercrantz's novel -- the fourth in the Millennium series -- to the big screen in a faithful form. Fans will be able to see for themselves when the movie opens in theaters on November 9.