Rooney Mara Biography

Patricia Rooney Mara (April 25, 1985) is an American actress most known for her role in as Lisbeth Salander from the U.S. remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. She is the younger sister of fellow actress Kate Mara. Their family — specifically Tim Mara and Art Rooney — founded the New York Giants and the Pittsburgh Steelers, respectively. Despite only being active in film since 2005, Mara has already won much acclaim, having received Golden Globe and Academy Award recognition for her work.

Rooney Mara Acting

Upon her decision to take up acting, Mara moved to Los Angeles, and for a brief time lived with her sister Kate, who was already establishing herself as an actress too. Mara appeared in small roles and indie films, slowly adding to her resume with appearances in films like Friends With Benefits and Youth in Revolt before coming to mainstream attention when she was cast as the lead in the 2010 Michael Bay produced remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street.

While the film itself was a box office success, it was massacred by critics and fans alike. However, the fact it was a financial success and Mara’s performance often cited as one of the film’s only saving graces, her career continued on an uptick. That same year she appeared in the award winning The Social Network alongside Jesse Eisenberg, and a year later starred opposite Daniel Craig in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Rooney Mara: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

An American remake of the popular Millennium series by Norwegian writer Stieg Larsson had been a hot topic with fans for some time before director David Fincher took on the project. Mara’s casting as Lisbeth Salander, the lead, was met with minor confusion until the first screens and the teaser trailer were released. Mara had essentially disappeared into the role, a fact that was clear by the time the film made it to theaters. Until this film, Mara had portrayed mostly pleasant, passive characters. The closest role she had to Lisbeth was as a scream queen in the Elm Street remake. However, it was easy to forget about all of that upon screening The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Mara was unrecognizable; her hair was dyed and cut into jagged strips, her face was pierced and she wore scarring.

As Lisbeth, she was often vicious and nearly feral yet there was a vulnerability that was apparent even as she acted out. A number of critics compared her favorably to Noomi Rapace who starred as Lisbeth in the original trilogy, and some even cited Mara’s portrayal as being superior—having played the role with an earnest hurt, like a raw nerve.

Despite being a financial and critical success—Mara received an Academy Award nomination for her role—as of this writing it appears work on the sequels The Girl who Played with Fire and The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest have stalled. When asked, Mara said she would happily return to the role.

Rooney Mara’s Latest Projects

2013 proved to be Rooney Mara’s biggest year yet. She continued to defy expectations by weaving seamlessly between genres — from thrillers, to science fiction, to westerns. Side Effects, her first of multiple films released in 2013, was an underappreciated psychological thriller—a throwback to the 90s neo-noir style of Brian De Palma that melds with the classic suspenseful reveals of Hitchcock—and was reminiscent of films like Final Analysis, Raising Cain, Double Indemnity, Dial M for Murder and Vertigo.

While not a starring role, Mara appeared in a cameo as the cold but accurate ex-wife of Joaquim Phoenix in the sci-fi film Her which went on to receive and win a number of Academy Awards.

Mara did star, however, in Ain’t All Them Bodies Saints, an indie-western taking place at the turn of the century. While the era of the cowboy in Hollywood has long since passed, there have been a few films released in recent years that have reinvigorated the genre—exchanging covered wagons and fighting Indians—with stark cinematography and character development. Ain’t All Them Bodies Saints, in that way, is a spiritual sister to The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford in that both deal with the sad truths of things left unsaid, aired secrets that are so much worse than the lies that covered them up, and the revelations of the self.

Again, Mara disappeared into this role. As Ruth, she embodies as sad, fragile wistfulness and an obligatory longing for her husband who went to prison for her crime. It’s a film about the people we were then and the people we are now, and how much of a difference that makes. While the film was an indie release, garnering only a little attention and even less money, it was a critical success and gives credence to the idea that Rooney Mara, after A Nightmare on Elm Street, is incapable of making a bad movie.

Rooney Mara Interview

While promoting Ain’t All Them Bodies Saints, Mara spoke with uInterview about the project — how if defied conventions of the genre, as well as the deeper story beyond that of the love triangle that the trailer to the film focused on.

“Ruth wishes she could be with someone like Patrick [Ben Foster]. I think that she wants to want to be with someone like Patrick because her life would be easier,” Mara told uInterview exclusively. “I think… she has wanted to be with Bob [Casey Affleck] since she was little and I think she’ll — a part of her will always want to be with him.”

Rooney Mara Charity

Before becoming as in-demand as she currently is, Mara founded her own charity called Faces of Kibera which provides food, medicine, clothing and shelter to the unfortunate citizens of Kibera, a poor slum in Kenya. She has used her connections to the New York Giants and the Pittsburgh Steelers to auction off memorabilia with the proceeds going entirely to the charity.

Mara is still highly involved with the charity, visiting the area often to help out. In 2011, the charity merged with the Uweza Foundation which involves itself in social programs to aid the area; Mara serves as president of the board of directors.

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