Rooney Mara Now Chooses Directors Carefully After ‘Some Bad Experiences’ — and a Good One with David Fincher

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Rooney Mara Now Chooses Directors Carefully After ‘Some Bad Experiences’ — and a Good One with David Fincher
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Rooney Mara has become increasingly selective with her roles, often prioritizing projects from A-list auteurs and taking long hiatuses when the right films don’t materialize. At the Berlin Film Festival press conference for her new film “La Cocina” (via Variety), Mara attributed some of her choosiness to her insistence on working with directors she trusts.

“I really go by the director. I learned that pretty early,” Mara said when asked about her criteria for selecting roles. “I had some bad experiences as an actor. And then I think it was probably after the first time I worked with David Fincher that I was like, ‘Oh, follow the director.’ So I really make my choices based on the filmmaker and who I want to work with because at the end of the day, it’s all them.” 

“La Cocina” is directed by “A Cop Movie” filmmaker Alonso Ruizpalacios, whom Mara said in Berlin wrote her a “beautiful letter” that inspired her to watch all of his films.

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“I really just wanted to make anything with him,” she said. “The way he talked about how he wanted to make this film, it was just an experience I really wanted to have.”

“La Cocina” is based on a play by Arnold Wesker and follows an undocumented cook (Raül Briones Carmona) working at an overpriced tourist trap restaurant near Times Square who is in love with the restaurant’s weary hostess (Mara). Rumors begin to spread that someone has stolen money from the restaurant, and the film examines the stresses of the kitchen environment and the struggles for many to achieve the American Dream. The film premieres in Berlin tonight on Friday, February 16.

Mara previously revealed that, if not for Fincher, she was close to quitting acting after a challenging experience shooting the 2010 “Nightmare on Elm Street” remake.

“A few years before [‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo‘], I had done a ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ remake, which was not a good experience,” she said in 2023. “I have to be careful with what I say and how I talk about it. It wasn’t the best experience making it and I kind of got to this place, that I still live in, that I don’t want to act unless I’m doing stuff that I feel like I have to do. So after making that film, I kind of decided, ‘OK, I’m just not going to act anymore unless it’s something that I feel that way about.’”

But she reconsidered her decision to walk away from acting after collaborating with Fincher on “The Social Network” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and credits him with helping her develop into the artist she ultimately became.

“David really took me under his wing,” she said. “He became my mentor in a lot of ways. He took such great care to make sure that I knew that I had a voice and that my opinion meant something. He constantly was empowering me, which I think really affected the rest of my choices thereafter.”


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