After playing Lisbeth, Rooney Mara now is the girl with the low profile
BY CINDY PEARLMAN January 31, 2013 9:22PM
Updated: March 4, 2013 6:21AM
LOS ANGELES — Once you’ve spiked her hair and become the girl with the dragon tattoo, you might think strange fans now come out of the woodwork.
But “people never recognize me,” Rooney Mara says. “They don’t recognize me on the street. If they do, they’re too scared to come up to me.”
Of course, she doesn’t look like Lisbeth Salander anymore.
“The reason I don’t get recognized is the way I present myself. It’s the aura I give,” she says. “I’m really good at walking into a room and going unnoticed.”
That skill might not work for her for long. The Academy Award nominee is about to star in the Steven Soderbergh thriller “Side Effects” (opening Friday) and later this year will be seen in the science-fiction romance “Her.”
“It’s been such a busy year that ‘Dragon Tattoo’ feels like 10 years ago,” she admits.
In “Side Effects,” she plays the wife of a man (Channing Tatum) who is just getting sprung from jail for inside trading. It should be a happy reunion, but she’s plunged into a clinical depression. A shrink (Jude Law) puts her on an experimental drug that leads to episodes of sleepwalking where she isn’t accountable for her actions.
“I’ve heard that the film plays like a Hitchcock thriller,” Mara says. “Steven loves to hear that because Hitchcock was one of his inspirations.”
To prepare for the role, she went to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan to talk to doctors in the psych ward.
“You don’t want to feel like you’re going to the zoo,” she says. “I wasn’t there to do anything more than talk to a bunch of different psychologists and doctors. I was lucky enough that a few people were generous and shared their stories of severe depression with me.”
The upcoming “Her” is mired in secrecy. “I feel if I tried to explain it, I’d butcher it,” she says. “It is one of my favorite scripts because the imagination in this story is endless.”
What about the “Dragon Tattoo” sequel? “No one has been talking to me,” she says. “I do hear that there has been talk about the project, but I don’t know how serious it is.
“I hope there will be a ‘Dragon’ sequel. I feel ready to revisit her and go back there.”
The hard part would be watching the actual movie. She avoided seeing “Dragon Tattoo” until her boyfriend, writer-director Charlie McDowell (son of Malcolm McDowell and Mary Steenburgen), dragged her to Union Square in Manhattan to see it with an audience.
“It’s never that fun to watch a movie you’re in,” she moans. “Well, maybe it’s fun for other people. For me, it’s only fun to watch the parts I’m not in.”
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