Rooney Mara


  1. Portia Doubleday, Youth In Revolt, 2008.     The role?  Sheeni,  the girl Michel Cera (as his usual nerdy milquetoast) hoped to lose his virginity with.  Instead, Mara played Taggarty
  2. Roxane Mesquida, Kaboom, 2009.      This time,   she was up for Loreli and didn’t get anything else in the   science-fiction twist on college students discovering sex.. Never mind.  Director David Fincher was  around the next  corner with then double whammy of The Social Network and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. No newcomer could ask for more.  (Her replacement in the Greg Araki movie was the discovery of controversial French auteur Catherine Breillat). 
  3. Amy Ferguson, Tanner Hall, 2009.    This and not The Social Network was the true breakthrough for Tricia Mara, who finally chose Rooney as her credit for this film- and it won her the Rising Star Award at the Hamptons festival in 2009. She took the name from her sporting great-grandfathers: Art Rooney founded the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tim Mara, the New York Giants She had first auditioned for the support role of Lucasta, but New York auteur Tatiana von Furstenberg loved what she saw and tested her for the lead, Fernanda.
  4. Emma Roberts, Adult World, 2011.     A few years back, the Hawaii-born auteur Scott Coffey had Julia Roberts toying with one of his scripts. Her niece didn’t toy… when Mara became The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
  5. Holliday Grainger, Great Expectations, 2011.    Mara rejected Estella  in the seventh version of the Disney classic since 1917. So, there has s been other Estellas but Jean Simmons, circa 1945, remains  a tough one to beat.
  6. Jennifer Lawrence, The Silver Linings Playbook, 2012.   “If you really want to go back and do an archeological dig,” laughed director David O Russell, “I wrote it for Vince Vaughn. And Zooey Deschanel.” Then, Jennifer did a reading on Skype with “an enormous amount of confidence that was beyond her years…  toughness and a sweetness and charisma… I hadn’t seen anything like that.” JLaw won the Oscar for the film  meaning her rivals Mara, Elizabeth Banks, Lily Collins, Kirsten Dunst, Rachel McAdams, Andrea Riseborough, Mia Wasikowska and  Olivia Wilde had been well and truly Skyped!
  7. Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty,  2012.     When delays meant Mara had to quit, director Kathryn Bigelow immediately called up Chastain after seeing an early cut of her Virgilia in Coriolanus, 2011. Her agents weren’t so keen.  Producer Megan Ellison, who made Lawless with Chastain in 2011,  came to the rescue, giving the actress’ number to Bigelow and that was that. Chastain became Maya  hunting down UBL – Usama bin Laden. To his death  in May 2011.
  8. Mia Wasikowska, Stoker, 2012.      For his first English-language film, SouthKorean director Chan-wook Park (Oldboy), was introduced to Hollywood casting. He had to see Mara, Bella Heathcote, Cary Mulligan, Emma Roberts and, of course for a vampire number, Twilighters Ashley Greenee and Kristen Stewart!What a choice for Nicole Kidman’s daughter… besotted with and fretting over the most mysterious Uncle Charlie since Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt some 60 years earlier.
  9. Elizabeth Olsen, Oldboy, 2012.    During the chequered history of re-making Chan-woo Park’s 2003 South Korean international breakthrough, Oldeuboi – as directors switched  from the Fast and Furious ace Justin Lee to Steven Spielberg and, finally, Spike Lee – Mara passed on being the young social worker concerned with James Brolin’s titular kidnap victim. Lily Collins and Mia Wasikowska also declined Marie.  The 140 minute movie was slashed by Sony to 105 which explains why this is A Spike Lee Film for the first time and and not, as per usual, A Spike Lee Joint.
  10. Natalie Portman, Knight of Cups, 2012.   Mara was attached, as they say, to Elizabeth. And gthen she wasn’t and Portman joined  fellow Oscar-winners: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Ben Kingsley. Director Terrence Malick provided lengthy notes rather than script. After two years of  post-production (!), the film finally opened in March, 2016!

  11. Dakota Fanning, Night Moves, 2012.     Mara and Paul Dano became Fanning and Jesse Eisenberg – environmentalists on a mission. Blowing up an Oregon dam.
  12. Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl, 2013.     Emily Blunt, Abbie Cornish, Julianne  Hough, Natalie Portman, Charlize Theron, Olivia Wilde, Reese Witherspoon were also discussed for Amy, who goes missing on her wedding anniversary. A great Briton won…
  13. Mila Kunis, Jupiter Ascending, 2013.   After Natalie Portman (wisely) quit her second Wachowski siblings’ movie (Cloud Atlas was the first), Mara was seen before Kunis, a Portman pal, and Black Swan co-star, became Jupiter Jones, a toilet cleaner when first met. Hence Houston critic Chris Sawin said the s(l)oppy 2015 release was “more of a motivational video for janitors and housemaids everywhere than a satisfying piece of entertainment.”
  14. Rebecca Hall, Transcendence, 2013.     Christopher Nolan’s usual cinematographer Wally Pfister  was spoilt for choice of stars eager about his directing debut. Emily Blunt anf Kater Winslet were also keen on Evelyn. Plus Plus both girls with the dragon tattoo: the American Mara and Swedish Noomi Rapace. Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn, 2014.     One busy actress replaced by another… as the young Irish immigrant, Ellis Lacey, makes her way in the 1950s Big Apple.
  15. Lily James, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, 2014.     Natalie Portman was set for the revisionist Elizabeth Bennet until delays clashed with her schedule. Portman remained on board as one of seven producers while Mara, Lily Collins, Anne Hathaway, Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis, Blake Lively, Emma Stone and Mia Wasikowska were rung up Jane Austen flagpoles. 
  16. Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn, 2014.  One busy actress replaced by another… as the young Irish immigrant, Ellis Lacey, makes her way in the 1950s Big Apple.

  17. Lily Collins, Rules Don’t Apply, 2014.   Mara, Lily Collins and Evan Rachel Wood turned down the Wood  turned down the new kid in the mid-50s Hollywood. Jones was snapped up  for the first stand-alone Star Wars film, Rogue One– while her potential co-star in director Warren Beatty’s Howard Hughes movie that was not a Howard Hughes movie but a love story treatise on American sexual puritanism (!), Alden Ehrenreich became the new (young) Han Solo; another gigantic flop. What Beatty gave us is a cinematic Spruce Goose. It takes off but never really flies.

  18. Felicity Jones, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story2015.  

  19. Brie Larson, Room, 2015.   When her best-seller came out, author Emma Donoghue said every young actress in town wanted to the resilient Ma, protecting her young son when locked-up kidnap victims. From Mara and Mia Wasikowska to Emma Watson and Larson’s good friend, Shailene Woodley.  After 20 years of often  nearly quitting, Larson broke through and how – Best Actress Oscar, February 28, 2016. Director Lenny Abrahamson fell for her home-made tape, talking with an off-screen son. “She conjured up that child. I really felt the child was there.” She then lost 15 lbs  and avoided sunlight for for a pale, gaunt look. “She doesn’t do that showy intensity thing that we overpraise in film actors. There’s just this truthfulness about her and a delicacy to what she does.”

  20. Keira Knightley, Collateral Beauty, 2015.  She fell in – and dropped out. Missing working with Kate Winslet, Edward Norton, Helen Mirren, Naomie Harris and  being famously praised by Will Smith…  “If we are all judged by the company we keep… then I want this cast with me for life!”

  21. Margot Robbie, Suicide Squad, 2015.   Warners first offered DC’s Harley Quinn to  Emma Roberts – more keen on heading TV’s Scream Queens. Big mistake. Also up for  three hours a day in make-up for Quinn: Mara Alison Brie, Emily Browning, Lily Collins, Zooey Deschanel, Sara Paxton, Imogen Poots, Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Thirlby, Emma Watson, Olivia Wilde, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Evan Rachel Wood.“There’s always two characters: Harleen Quinzel and Harley Quinn,” explained Robbie.  “Where Harleen takes over, she can be rational; then Harley takes over, and that’s the more erratic.She loves causing mayhem and destruction. She’s incredibly devoted to the Joker. They have a dysfunctional relationship, but she loves him.” him anyway. She used to be a gymnast – that’s her skill set when fighting.”
  22. Hayley Bennett, The Girl on  the Train, 2016.   Never any question in producer Marc Platt’s mind  about who would be The Girl – Emily Blunt, from  his Into The Woods.  But sexy Megan only became Bennett when Mara had to leave the project. She was lucky to miss the messy Hitchcock wannabe – never came close.

  23. Jennfier Lawrence, Red Sparrow,  2017.     Three years earlier, Mara and director David Fincher were in talks to film the espionage thriller – but their Girl With The Dragon Tattoo flopped.  And the Jennifer and Francis Lawrence’s Hunger Games did not.



 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  23