“I always feel like I’m just trying to not fuck up. Every movie I finish I think, ‘Shit, now I know how to do it better.’ That’s kind of what keeps me going.” Perhaps what’s most surprising about hearing Mara speak with this level of humility is how genuine it feels.Excessive modesty can seem false and insincere when expressed by someone whose talent and charm is as undeniable as her’s, yet if anything this candid admission serves as a reminder of how far Mara’s star has risen in such a short space of time. I mean, I like to do a lot of reading and research for each part, but I find that stuff so boring to talk about. ” In past interviews Mara has described acting as an education, a continuous process of experiential learning in which personal development and professional compatibility are intrinsically linked. “I learned so much working on this film,” she tells LWLies. I don’t want to get too fangirly here, but I was in awe a lot of the time around her.” And Todd?“I think you can convey a lot through silence,” she says.“I’ve always been drawn to actors who are really good at that – Marion Cotillard is someone I could watch do anything, she just exudes so much feeling and emotion in everything she does.With Todd, he makes it so clear what movie you’re going to be in and the space you’re going to be in.At the end of the day, as an actor you’re ultimately at the mercy of the director.Emoting through silence is something that comes very naturally to me.” Back in May, Mara received the Best Actress award at the 68th Cannes Film Festival for Carol, and in September was presented with one of three Silver Medallion Awards at the Telluride Film Festival (the other two going to director Danny Boyle and documentarian Adam Curtis).
You know sometimes you watch movies and it feels like the actors are all in a different movie?I could watch her doing laundry and it would be interesting.With Carol, the script already had those moments, but it’s something I try to bring to every part I play.It’s unusual to hear an actor talk openly about the come down, although it stands to reason that switching off after immersing yourself in a character like Lisbeth Salander should be a long and painful process. I would read things and I just couldn’t see myself in the part. I thought I would be bad.” By the time the conversation came back around to Carol, now with both Cate Blanchett and director Todd Haynes attached, Mara was ready.“There was a long period after Dragon Tattoo where I couldn’t imagine myself in anything,” she reflects. “I hadn’t worked in almost a year,” she recalls, “so I was really hungry to do something. Looking back, I can’t quite believe I ever said no. The fact that I turned down a chance to work with her is absurd to me now. The choices I make so often depend on the head space I’m in.” If Blanchett’s strong onscreen persona and classical elegance mark her as the Katharine Hepburn of her generation, then Mara is Louise Brooks – cool and exotic in an effortless, strangely accessible kind of way, a 21st-century ‘It’ girl dropped in from the Jazz Age.