Rooney Mara is everywhere these days, thanks to her breakout role as Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo released last year. The actress’ turn as the ass-kicking computer hacker also earned her an Oscar nod, and we can’t wait to see what she’ll be wearing this Sunday. Mara isn’t the only new (or new to us) face stepping out this awards season. During our Breakout Actress week, we’ve so far looked at the meteoric career graphs of Melissa McCarthy, Berenice Bejo and Shailene Woodley, and today it’s Mara’s turn to grab the spotlight.
Who: Rooney Mara
What she did before 2012: Rooney’s been acting since 2005, popping on our TVs with roles on ER and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit before a brief but notable performance as Erica Albright, a.k.a. the girl who broke Mark Zuckerberg’s heart in 2010′s The Social Network. Rooney also had roles in 2009′s Friends With Benefits and A Nightmare On Elm Street.
Why we’re paying attention now: In the film world, we know how much Hollywood loves a beautiful woman transforming herself into someone unrecognizable. Rooney’s role as Lisbeth Salander exemplifies this. It wasn’t easy to convince director David Fincher that she could really take on the role of Lisbeth, and Mara has told stories of how he wanted to see her look really strung out to believe her. He said, “Go out and get really, really drunk and come in the next morning so we can take pictures of you.” Rooney actually did.
In terms of fashion, it’s hard not to notice Rooney’s pale beautiful face. While her sharp features, jet-black hair and blunt bangs could push her into goth territory, the actress has been smart enough to choose designs that walk that fine line between dark and romantic. She’s also effortlessly pulled off difficult silhouettes by designers such as Givenchy, Rodarte and Prabal Gurung and found gowns that look outré even with slightly more commercial designers like Louis Vuitton, J.Mendel and Calvin Klein.
What’s next? 2013 is going to be a busy year for Rooney. She’s starring in films such as the Terence Mallick-directed Lawless and The Side Effects. The latter is being directed by Steven Soderbergh and also also stars Channing Tatum, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Jude Law. She will also be starring in The Girl Who Played With Fire, reprising her role as Lisbeth Salander for part two of the Millenium trilogy.
[Photo: Getty Images, MGM, W Magazine, Vanity Fair, Vogue]