The longtime partner of late Swedish crime writer Stieg Larsson says the author wouldn’t have approved of merchandise being linked to this week’s release of a Hollywood adaptation of his bestselling novel, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
Eva Gabrielsson said Monday that Larsson would have instead used the buzz around his work to call attention to violence and discrimination against women.
“We would never have sold any rights for merchandising,” Gabrielsson said. “It has nothing to do with books.”
H&M has released a Dragon Tattoo Collection, created by costume designer Trish Summerville, that it says is inspired by Lisbeth Salander — the tattooed anti-heroine of Larsson’s books and the film which opens Wednesday in the United States.
Gabrielsson and Larsson were a couple for more than 30 years, but never married. Larsson didn’t leave a will, so his brother and father inherited the rights to his works when he died of a heart attack at age 50 in 2004.
The two have rejected Gabrielsson’s suggestions that they are using Larsson’s legacy for profit, and say they will donate their earnings to causes he supported, including an anti-racism magazine that he worked for as a journalist.
Still, Gabrielsson expressed concern that the political dimension of Larsson’s books, including the feminist undertones, would be overlooked by the film’s hype. She claims Larsson wanted to show that gender imbalances exist even in Sweden, one of the world’s most egalitarian societies.
“The oppression of women exists everywhere, this incomprehensible discrimination,” she said.
In Larsson’s trilogy, Salander and journalist Mikael Blomqvist team up to solve serial killings and sex trafficking scandals. Rooney Mara plays Salander and Daniel Craig plays Blomqvist in the David Fincher directed film.
Mara suggested at a news conference last month that Salander isn’t a feminist, and doesn’t see herself as part of any group or subculture.
“Does she know what film she has been in?” Gabrielsson said, disbelievingly. “Has she read the books? Has she not had any coaching?”
Salander doesn’t fit neatly into any category, “but she is still part of a movement,” Gabrielsson said. “Her entire being represents a resistance, an active resistance to the mechanisms that mean women don’t advance in this world and in worst case scenarios are abused like she was.”
Gabrielsson said the feminist theme had been partly lost with the creation of the English title, which she thinks sounds like “a children’s book.”
She said the original Swedish title is “Man som hatar kvinnor,” — men who hate women. “In his (Larsson’s) world that was also the basic theme for these books,” she said.
Gabrielsson published her own book last year about her life with Larsson.