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Rooney Mara: Is "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" her vehicle for stardom?

Actress Rooney Mara arrives for the world premiere of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" in London on Dec. 12, 2011. Getty Images

(CBS) When David Fincher cast Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," many fans of both the book and the Swedish film, asked, "Who?"

That's all changing now. The film, which hit theaters this week, has generated a lot of buzz that's now turning into cash at the box office.

Pictures: "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" premiere
Pictures: Rooney Mara
Read more: "Dragon Tattoo" kicks off holiday box-office sales

Mara, 26, was relatively unknown and somewhat of a surprising choice - at first. Before getting tapped for "Dragon Tattoo," she portrayed a college student in "The Social Network," was featured in 2010's "Nightmare on Elm Street" and made small appearances on TV shows, including "ER" and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."

Interestingly enough, though, "The Girl with Dragon Tattoo" has helped launch Hollywood careers. The original 2009 Swedish film earned critical acclaim both in the U.S. and overseas. And now its Swedish stars are making their way up the Hollywood ladder.

Noomi Rapace, who played computer hacker Salander in the Swedish film, is currently starring in Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows." She's also linked to the upcoming film, "The Last Voyage of Demeter," co-starring Jude Law and Ben Kingsley.

Rapace's "Dragon Tattoo" Swedish co-star, Michael Nyqvist, can be seen next to Tom Cruise in "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol."

So what's next for Mara? She's attached to an as-yet-untitled thriller, co-starring Guy Pearce, according to IMDB. Mara will also star in Terrence Malick's "Lawless," alongside Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett.

"Dragon Tattoo" producers haven't officially announced American film adaptations of the second and third books in the series, but one thing is for sure: Mara is board. "I look very much forward to it," she told Reuters.

Craig, 43, is also interested in a "Dragon Tattoo" follow-up, telling the Associated Press, "We'll see how 'Dragon Tattoo' does, but, yes, of course, I'd love to come in and do (more)."

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