×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mara finds comfort in being the ‘Dragon’ lady

Eye on the Oscars: The Actress - Leading Role: Rooney Mara

Even before Rooney Mara persuaded director David Fincher she was right for the lead in “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” she had to convince herself.

“I saw the Swedish film and was impressed and blown away by Noomi Rapace’s performance,” Mara recalls. “I thought it was a great story and an amazing character, but I didn’t come away thinking, ‘Oh, wow, I have to play that part. I would be perfect for it.’ In fact, I wasn’t even sure I would be good.”

Slowly, though, the 26-year-old probably best known for her work in “The Social Network” began to reconsider playing the role of a computer hacker genius investigating the disappearance of a young woman 40 years earlier.

It started with Mara’s reading the trilogy by novelist Stieg Larsson, of which “Dragon Tattoo” was the first.

“I had a much different take on it,” she says. “I really felt quite strongly that I could bring something new to the part and that I really had to play it. I felt like I understood something about the character on a very deep level and I really could relate to her. I just understood her.”

Popular on Variety

Mara began preparing for the screen test a year before she got the part.

“I went into training,” Mara says of how she readying herself for the role. “I did skateboarding to sort of get the teenage boy walk and a lot of kick boxing. I started the dialect training right away and did some computer training.”

Mara also attended a school for autistic children and a center for sexually abused women, as well as visiting Stockholm.

“It’s such an important part of the story,” she says of the Swedish capital.

During production, Mara says she was greatly influenced by Fincher.

“I can’t imagine doing this without him,” she says. “He knows the story better than anyone and is prepared to answer any question. The reason David and I worked so well together is because I like to investigate every facet of something and understand things fully before I reveal myself. David really allows for that because he also likes to explore everything. He’s just so open and knowledgeable.”

Return to the main page >>

More Film

  • Macao Project Market Participants

    ‘Dear Wormwood’ Claims Macao Project Market Prize

    Philippines director Dodo Dayao’s supernatural horror project “Dear Wormwood” claimed the top prize on Sunday at the IFFAM Project Market, part of the ongoing International Film Festival & Awards Macao. “Wormwood” is a tale of five women living together in a remote house in the forest, where a mystery illness strikes one of the quintet, [...]

  • International Film Festival and Awards Macao

    Macao Industry Debate: Streaming Not Done Reshaping Indie Film Business

    New viewing habits brought on by the rise of streaming have hastened the demise of the mid-budget American indie, changed the very definition of arthouse cinema, and shaken the indie distribution business. But theatrical is still here to stay, attendees of the Macao International Film Festival’s closed-door industry panels concluded Saturday. Panelists gathered to discuss [...]

  • Arab and African Filmmakers Are Increasingly

    Arab and African Filmmakers Are Increasingly Focusing on Genre Films and Series

    2019 has been an excellent year for films from Africa and the Middle East, with a higher presence in A-list festivals, and kudos for films such as Mati Diop’s “Atlantics,” which won the Grand Prix at Cannes. The “new wave” of Arab and African cinema includes a small group of films that explore links with [...]

  • Producer Said Hamich on 'Zanka Contact,'

    Producer Said Hamich on Atlas Workshop Winner 'Zanka Contact,' Upcoming Projects

    Two projects from Franco-Moroccan producer Saïd Hamich won big at the Marrakech Film Festival’s Atlas Workshop this year, with the upcoming Kamal Lazraq-directed feature “Les Meutes” nabbing a development prize and the recently wrapped “Zanka Contact” winning an $11,000 post-production grant. “Zanka Contact” director Ismaël El Iraki was on-hand to present 10 minutes of footage, [...]

  • Major Film Festivals Are Becoming Key

    Major Film Festivals Are Becoming Key in Promoting Films From the Arab World, Africa

    Looking back at the lineups of key festivals such as Cannes and Venice this year, 2019 stands out as a banner year for movies from the African continent and the Arab world. During a panel hosted at the Netflix-sponsored industry event Atlas Workshops during the Marrakech Film Festival, Rémi Bonhomme, who works at Cannes’ Critics’ [...]

  • Robert RedfordRobert Redford tribute, 18th Marrakech

    Robert Redford Talks About Potential Next Film, U.S. Politics, Life Philosophy

    During a 90-minute onstage conversation at the Marrakech Film Festival, where he received an honorary tribute, Robert Redford spoke about his life-long quest for truth and freedom, and his political engagement through films, as well as a long-gestating project he’s considering producing, despite having announced his retirement. When he has spoken about the project, “109 [...]

  • For Sama SXSW Cannes Documentary

    'For Sama' Wins Best Feature at International Documentary Association Awards

    Syrian Civil War diary “For Sama” has won the best feature award from the International Documentary Association for Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts. The award was presented by Frances Fisher on Saturday night at the 35th Annual IDA Documentary Awards at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles. The first-time award for Best Director went to Steven Bognar and Julia [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content