Credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic; Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Too hot for her own damn good!

Scarlett Johansson was among the bevy of A-list actresses who lost out on the sought-after role of Lisbeth Salander in this fall's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, based on late Swedish author Stieg Larsson's blockbuster crime novel (the first in a bestselling trilogy).

Director David Fincher eventually gave the part in his American adaptation to lesser-known actress Rooney Mara, with whom he worked on The Social Network.

"We flew in people from New Zealand and Swaziland and all over the place," Fincher explained to Vogue. "Look, we saw some amazing people. Scarlett Johansson was great. It was a great audition, I'm telling you."

So why didn't Johansson, 26, nab the part? "But the thing with Scarlett is, you can't wait for her to take her clothes off."

Indeed, Johansson is probably too voluptuous for the edgy role as it is written in the book. Brilliant, socially freakish computer hacker Salander is a "a pale, anorexic young woman who had hair as short as a fuse, and a pierced nose and eyebrows," author Larson wrote of Lizbeth, who is covered in tattoos.

"I keep trying to explain this," Fincher said of his hunt for the protagonist, played by Noomi Rapace in the original Swedish-language trilogy." Salander should be like E.T. 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."

He added: "I had seen a lot of actresses. I was beginning to get to the point where I was thinking, 'Maybe conceptually you are talking about a person who doesn't exist'."