A well prepared debutant
Stieg Larsson began thinking about writing detective novels back in the early 90’s, according to co-worker Anna-Lena Lodenius in an interview with the Swedish newspaper Veckans Affärer. He had always been interested in particularly Anglo-Saxon literature and knew the works of Elizabeth George, Minette Walters and Sara Paretsky very well. He knew what ingredients a good detective story should have, and he even reluctantly decided to spice it up with a bit of sex as it would probably please his readers.
A regrettable refusal
As for his work as a journalist, his preparations for the series were thorough. Before he started writing, he had made a detailed synopsis for ten books. He started writing in 1997, and it was not until he had finished the first two books and had the third one under way that he contacted a publisher in the summer of 2003. His first contact was with publisher Piratförlaget, which refused his script twice, perhaps the biggest mistake in Swedish publishing history. Instead, it was the publisher Nordstedts which got the opportunity to sign him in late 2003. With them, Stieg Larsson signed a contract of three books, an exceptional opportunity for an unpublished writer. The publishing rights were also bought by German and Norwegian publisher before it was even published in Sweden. During 2004 Stieg Larsson made minor adjustments to his two finished books and finished the third. When he died in November 2004, it was only a few months before the first book of the Millennium-series was released to the Swedish audience and became an immediate success.
Pippi Longstocking as a source of inspiration
Kenneth Ahlborn, a former colleague of Stieg’s at TT, says in an interview with Veckans Affärer that Stieg got the idea for the character Lisbeth Salander after a discussion during a break from work. They were talking about how different characters from children’s books would manage and behave if they were alive and grown up. Stieg especially liked the idea about a grown up Pippi Longstocking, a dysfunctional girl, probably with attention deficit disorder who would have had a hard time finding a regular place in the “normal society”, and he used part those characteristics when he created lisbeth Salander.
- “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”
- “The Girl Who Played With Fire”
- “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest”
Screen versions of the trilogy
It early became clear that the very popular books would be made in screen versions. In 2008 production began in Sweden, and the three books was shot back-to-back into three movies during the following year. The three movies were given the same names as the books. In the Swedish versions, male actor Michael Nyqvist plays Michael Blomkvist, while Noomi Rapace plays Lisbeth Salander.
Meanwhile the books were a major hit all over the world and it did not take long for Hollywood to see the huge potential in the thrilogy. The legal rights for the novels were set between Columbia Pictures, Stieg Larssons brothers and father and Yellow Bird, the production company behind the swedish films. Production was put on a fast track and the the search to fill the roles started.