Daniel Craig

For 'Dragon Tattoo' role, Daniel Craig worked at being a 'normal guy'

Dec. 16, 2011 at 9:51 AM ET

As James Bond, Daniel Craig has been convincing audiences for two movies and counting that he's in fighting trim for whatever a project may want to throw at him.

But as he told TODAY's Matt Lauer Friday, that's not what director David Fincher wanted when he hired him for "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." As Lauer pointed out, Craig was in the best shape of his life when he signed on to the role, but Fincher noted that he was playing a journalist, not 007. He would have to put on some weight.

"I wanted to look as much like a normal guy as possible," said Craig. "This guy is a journalist and he works very hard and maybe drinks a little too much, but when the thriller aspect of this movie kicks in, I wanted him to be in danger."

Basically, not to be Bond. And Fincher definitely didn't want a Bond girl to play the quirky, tough Lisbeth Salander. Lauer reminded Craig that Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman were talked about for the role, but Fincher chose a lesser-known actress instead in Rooney Mara.

"I knew once I met Rooney and talked to David that she was the right girl for the part," said Craig. "She hits it out of the park."

And he reiterated comments he's made recently about the film being for adults. "If anybody is a fan of the books, they know what the themes are and that it deals with sexual politics, it deals with violence against women and all of those things are very important to the story," said Craig, who called the film "horribly graphic" in July. "My theory is I'm hoping babysitters are going to make a lot of money out of it."

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" opens Dec. 20.

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