• Golden Globe Awards

Rooney Mara

Whether one considers her part to be a lead or supporting, there is no doubt that Rooney Mara's astonishing performance in Todd Haynes' highly acclaimed Carol is a major element in the film's success and overall emotional impact. Mara, who is only 30, has already teamed with the best directors working in Hollywood today, David Fincher, Steven Soderbergh, Spike Jonze and Terrence Malick. When she received a career tribute at the 2015 Telluride Film Festival, observers were surprised to find out how extensive her resume is and how prolific she has been. Over the past decade, Mara has made about 20 pictures, in which she navigated smoothly between mainstream big-budget studio movies and original and daring low-budget independent films.It was during her college years at New York University that Mara decided to explore her interest in acting, landing small parts in independent films and eventually moving to Los Angeles to pursue a full-time career. On the small screen, Mara’s credits include memorable guest starring roles on ER, The Cleaner, Women’s Murder Club, and Law & Order: SVU.The turning point in Mara's already illustrious career was five years ago, when she played the ex-girlfriend of Mark Zuckerberg, in David Fincher’s The Social Network. That Sony film, written by Aaron Sorkin, and starring Jesse Eisenberg, told the story of the founders of the worldwide Internet interface – Facebook.Mara mesmerized audiences and critics alike in the Fincher – directed, U.S. adaptation of the popular Stieg Larsson book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, released in 2011. Mara portrayed the complex female lead, “Lisbeth Salander,” opposite Daniel Craig and Robin Wright, for which she was recognized by the National Board of Review for Breakthrough Performance, as well as earning a Golden Globe and Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.Mara tends to choose complex and ambiguous, often "dark" screen roles. In 2013, for example, she appeared in Side Effects, directed by Soderbergh and starring opposite Channing Tatum, as a woman who turns to prescription medication as a way of handling her anxiety and depression. And this season Mara again shines in Haynes's exquisitely made 1950s lesbian melodrama, Carol, one of the artistic highlights of the 2015 Cannes Film Fest, where she won the Best Actress kudo against tough competition. The script, based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 scandalous novel “The Price of Salt,” is the rare lesbian love story to be seen on the big screen. Scribe Phyllis Nagy spent 15 years working on the script, as various directors came and went during that time. “Nothing has changed and everything has changed,” Nagy said. “We can have this movie now.” Carol is based on the only book that the prolific writer Highsmith (Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train), wrote outside of the crime milieu, yet it is locked into the same singular point of view as most of her other criminal subjects.Carol depicts the interiors of the mind and feelings of a young, middle-class, rather confused and unshaped girl named Therese, who works in a toys store. For Mara, Therese's "only crime is that she's falling in love and doesn't even know she is, because this kind of love has so little example in the real world, and it conflicts with what she thinks about herself and her relationship with her boyfriend."Mara surprised journalists when she noted that she wasn't shy about pushing the envelope with the film's steamy love scene. While the film contains several embraces and kisses, there is only one scene that graphically depicts the two women in bed, consummating what was up to that a very subdued and subtle attraction, largely conveyed through looks and other gestures. “I’m nude quite often, so it wasn’t a big deal for me,” Mara said in Cannes, and, indeed, you may recall that she was also full frontal in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.Mara most recently completed production alongside Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender and Natalie Portman in the upcoming Terrence Malick film, Weightless (the project was previously known as Lawless) Veiled in secrecy, all that is known is that it's a drama about two intersecting love triangles, sexual obsession and betrayal, set against the music scene in Austin, Texas.Despite an extremely busy career, Mara devotes time to all kinds of humanitarian causes: She is the Founder of the non-profit organization Uweze, which provides care and assistance to poverty-stricken orphans in Africa’s largest slum in Kibera, Kenya.Emanuel Levy