Cinema Vanguard Award honoring Rooney Mara (SBIFF, 2016)

Reviewed by Jessie Su. Viewed at Arlington Theater, Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2016.

I was privileged enough to see actress, Rooney Mara, receive the Cinema Vanguard Award at the 2016 Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Friday, February 12 in the Arlington Theater. Rooney Mara wore a beautiful dress and brought her humor, wit and elegance with her.

The main celebration of her award was her performance in Carol. She played Therese Belivet alongside with Cate Blanchett. She is most known for her outstanding performance as the main character, Lisbeth Salander, in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2016). She has also acted in movies Trash (2014), Her (2013), Side Effects (2013), Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (2013). A series of clips from these movies were played to honor her performance. After each clip the interviewer would ask her questions about each movie that was played.

Mara looked up to Cate Blanchett when she was 13 years old and she still doesn’t believe she performed alongside with her in Carol. In the middle of the tribute, a video of Cate Blanchett honoring Rooney Mara was played. Unfortunately, she was in the UK and could not attend because of not wanting to go through airport doors and other family obligations, such as the children. The video was a close up on the well, formal dressed and sophisticated Cate Blanchett. It was about ten minutes long. Blanchett divulged how Mara is a woman of few words, and if she speaks it is of importance.

Rooney Mara informed us that the audition process of The Girl with Dragon Tattoo was two months long. Mara was getting tired, frustrated and ready to quit, and just before she reached the brink director David Fincher handed her the script. He warned her how this movie could drastically impede her future acting career. Mara had already considered this and was fully willing to accept the consequences. The first day she received the script was the first day she received her first motorcycle lesson, while also taking skateboarding lessons, kickboxing, and getting piercings for the movie. Even though it was not required, she voluntarily lost twenty pounds to better fit the role.

Mara does not like smiling and it is difficult to catch her doing so. At the end of The Dragon Tattoo a slight smile is caught on scene. She explained that she was very reluctant to do it, but her friend blurted out a fart joke so she could not resist. Rooney Mara and her friend would frequently tell fart jokes on set.

She modestly confessed how “I worship directors because without them I’m nothing…”

“Thanks Todd!” as she held the Cinema Vanguard award in her hand. Rooney Mara seems to be a very strong, not your typical woman. I sense more greatness awaits to be seen of her in future films.


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