Here are some new things I picked up in the piece.
Author of the books the films are based on Steig Larsson witnessed a rape when he was 15 and did not intervene. “Larsson supposedly witnessed a gang rape when he was fifteen and never forgave himself for not intervening to help the girl—named, you guessed it, Lisbeth.”
Mara cut down on her food intake to keep Salander’s waif like figure:
He (director, David Fincher) says with quiet seriousness, “You can eat.” I look up to see her reaction. Mara rolls her eyes, and Fincher laughs. “You can have lettuce and a grape. A raisin if you must.” She orders a piece of fish and barely touches it. In the book, Salander is described as boyish and awkward, “a pale, anorexic young woman who has hair as short as a fuse. . . .” Noomi Rapace, the magnetic star of the Swedish versions, looked more like Joan Jett. “One of the things that make our version that much more heartbreaking,” says Mara, “is that even though I am playing a 24-year-old, I look much younger. I look like a child.” I ask if she had to get unhealthily skinny for the role. She says, “Umm . . . not really.”
“It hasn’t been too hard for her,” Fincher quickly adds.
That playing Salander a heroine outside of the box has given Rooney Mara the freedom to not care about what she wears and what people think.
Before, I dressed much girlier,” she says. “A lot of blush-colored things. Now I literally roll out of bed and put on whatever is there. I have really enjoyed being a boy this last year.”
She talks about how things will change for her after the film comes out:
She is perhaps rightfully wary about the media circus that is sure to accompany the film’s release. “That kind of fame is not something I ever wanted for myself,” she says. “It just so happens that this huge, gigantic monster of a film came around that also happens to have the most incredible character that I ever could have dreamed up. But my fear with a movie like this is the kind of exposure you get from it. I think that can be death to an actor. The more people know about you, the less they can project who you are supposed to be. It’s unfortunate that you really only get one shot at that. After this, I won’t be able to be that girl again.”
It took so long for Mara to get the part because the studio did not want her. But Fincher did not give up and we’ll know really soon if she ws worth the fight because no matter how you slice it if Rooney Mara doesn’t work as Lisbeth Salander no matter how good the rest of the characters and the movie is, it will be a huge disappointment. I’m hopeful.
Rooney Mara: Playing with Fire (Vogue)