We’ve been living with Rooney Mara’s nipples for so many months now that it’s easy to forget she was but one of many stars under consideration for David Fincher’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, a prospective cast list that once included everyone from Ellen Page to Natalie Portman. But of all the would-be Lisbeth Salanders, supposedly none came closer than Scarlett Johansson, losing out at the last minute due to an aura of irrepressible glamour that simply couldn’t be muddied enough to play Lisbeth, no matter how much black hair dye or piercings they might have added. And as Fincher elaborates to Vogue, she was also just way, way too hot: “Scarlett Johansson was great,” he says. “It was a great audition, I’m telling you. But the thing with Scarlett is, you can’t wait for her to take her clothes off.” Indeed, certain people are currently facing serious criminal charges due to impatience with seeing Scarlett Johansson naked.

Beyond just implying that people are cool with Rooney Mara keeping her clothes on, at least for a little while, Fincher also offers up another backhanded compliment to his star—whom, to be fair, he also praises for her “layers”—in the form of an unexpected analogy about how he wanted the character to be alien and unapproachable at first: “Salander should be like E.T.” he says. “If you put E.T. dolls out before anyone had seen the movie, they would say, ‘What is this little squishy thing?’ Well, you know what? When he hides under the table and he grabs the Reese’s Pieces, you love him! It has to be like that.” Thus concludes the only Girl With The Dragon Tattoo/E.T. analogy you will likely ever hear. [via The Playlist]