Yesterday, after months of speculation, David Fincher announced that he’d cast Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” Some people are sighing with relief that the role didn’t go to a rumored big name like Scarlett Johansson or Kristen Stewart. But others are wondering who the heck this girl is. If you even vaguely recognize her name, it’s probably from her biggest role to date, as Nancy, the brunette waitress and female lead in the recent “Nightmare on Elm Street” remake. Check out her acting chops in the preview above. And after the jump, all there is to know about Rooney, along with clips and interviews. First, the biographical deets. Mara is 24 and originally hails from Bedford, New York, a richie town in Westchester County. Her grandpops founded the New York Giants and her uncle co-owns the team. She is one of four children and is a bit of a humanitarian. After high school, she founded a charity for orphans in Kenya called Faces of Kiberia. In an interview with Paper magazine, she said, “I needed to get out of the bubble of Westchester. I wanted to finish high school and experience other parts of the world before I tried acting.”
Rooney went on to college in NYU were she studied psychology and social policy. And than took off for L.A. three years ago to join her sister, Kate Mara, in the acting game.
One of her first roles was in “Dare,” a flick starring Emmy Rossum and Zach Gilford. Here’s an interview she did about the movie.
In “Dare,” Rooney played the popular girl, but she swears she was nothing like that in high school. “I was mostly just shy and had few friends,” she says. She also dishes that she prefers independent films to big studio productions. Oops! But something about her skittishness and monotone voice is kind of endearing, no?
Last year, Rooney landed a role in Michael Cera’s “Youth in Revolt,” as a coed trying to sleep with 50 men. She also played a boarding school student carrying on an affair with an older man in “Tanner Hall.” See Rooney and hear more of her deadpan humor in the trailer below.
And then, of course, came “Nightmare on Elm Street.” In the interview below, Rooney describes her character, a disturbed girl who actually seems a bit like Lisbeth. What do we think of the sweatshirt with one arm missing?
Rooney has actually worked with David Fincher before. She has a bit part in “The Social Network,” his upcoming flick about Facebook. She plays the girl who broke Mark Zuckerberg’s heart. She doesn’t get much time in the preview, but she’s the wide-eyed brunette at 2:01.
Interestingly, Rooney told Collider.com that she was nervous to work with Fincher the first time around because he’s known for being uber-demanding. “I was a little worried about [all the takes he does]. Am I going to feel stale? But it never felt like that. His notes are so specific and what he wants is so specific that every time we did it, it felt fresh and new and in the moment.” And she must have impressed him for him to then cast her as Lisbeth.
A writer at Entertainment Weekly notes that Fincher drummed up press for the Lisbeth decision by “turning his whole casting process into a kind of role-of-the-century Cinderella event, a contemporary version of the search for Scarlett O’Hara.” They note that Rooney looks an awful lot like Scarlett O’Hara. Which, on second glance, she totally does. But do we think this movie will be big on a “Gone With The Wind” scale?