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Although she had roles in the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Social Network, Rooney Mara gained mainstream success when she played heroine Lisbeth Salander in the American version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011).
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Rooney Mara was born on April 17, 1985, in Bedford, New York. She began acting at NYU, and was given her first critically acclaimed role in The Social Network (2010). That same year, she starred in the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. After two and a half months of grueling auditions, Mara landed her most famous role yet, as heroine Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011), for which she earned an Academy Award nomination for best actress. Additionally,
"I can do dark comedy pretty well, but straight-up comedy, I don't know. I'm much darker. I've been like that since I was three years old. For Halloween, my mom asked me what I wanted to be. I said Klara, the crippled girl in the movie Heidi."
"There's a certain way people are used to seeing nude women, and that's in a submissive, coy pose, not looking at the camera. And in this poster, I'm looking dead into the camera with no expression on my face. I think it freaks a lot of people out."
"I don't have a trust fund. I grew up in a little cul-de-sac in the suburbs and went to public school. I went to Costco on the weekends."
Mara founded the charity Faces of Kibera, which provides care for orphans in Nairobi, Kenya.
Actress Rooney Mara was born Patricia Rooney Mara on April 17, 1985, in Bedford, New York. Mara is one of four children of Timothy Christopher Mara, the vice president of player evaluation for the New York Giants, and Kathleen McNulty (maiden name Rooney), a real estate agent. Football runs deep in Mara's family; her great-grandfather Tim Mara, founded the New York Giants, and her maternal great-grandfather Art Rooney Sr., founded the Pittsburgh Steelers. Her uncle, John Mara, still owns the Giants team.
Mara graduated from Bedford's Fox Lane High School in 2003, and then enrolled in the Traveling School. With the school, she went to Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru in South America for four months to study. She then attended George Washington University for one year before transferring to New York University to study psychology and nonprofits.
Mara was inspired to act after going to Broadway shows and watching classic films such as Gone With the Wind with her mother.She was also influenced by her older sister, actress Kate Mara. She appeared in a few student films in college, and at the age of 19, she began to audition. Mara graduated from NYU in 2010.
Mara first appeared as an extra in films starring her sister Kate, beginning with the 2005 horror movie Urban Legends: Bloody Mary. She billed herself as "Patricia Mara," and then made television appearances such as Law & Order, The Cleaner, and ER, calling herself "Tricia." Mara won her first lead role in the film Tanner Hall, released in 2009. She dropped her first name, explaining that she never felt like a Tricia, and that Rooney is more memorable. In 2009, Mara appeared in the films Youth In Revolt, Dare, and The Winning Season. She was included on Filmmaker Magazine's "25 New Faces of Independent Film."
Mara's breakthrough appearance was in the 2010 film The Social Network, where she played Mark Zuckerberg's ex-girlfriend. That same year, she starred in the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. In August 2010, after two and a half months of auditions, and beating out actresses Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson, Mara was cast as the lead in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy. The role is said to have been the most coveted for an actress since Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind. The film is based on Stieg Larsson's best-selling novel of the same title. Mara played Lisbeth Salander, a genius computer hacker, and for the role had to look more like a punk teenager.
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