It didn't take long for Rooney Mara to go from acting in student films at NYU to giving an on-screen Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) a much-needed reality check in "The Social Network." Being handpicked by David Fincher for the lead in "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" is taking Mara to the next level. Plenty of high-profile actresses were vying for the role of Lisbeth Salander, a character beloved by fans of the Stieg Larsson books and original Swedish film trilogy. All eyes are on her as the protagonist of one of the most anticipated films of the season.
Hometown: Bedford, NY
What She's Done: Besides being one of the only female characters in "The Social Network," Mara costarred in the remake of "A Nightmare on Elm Street" with Jackie Earle Haley and in the underseen teen comedy "Youth in Revolt" with Michael Cera. You can also catch her in the teen boarding school drama "Tanner Hall" with Brie Larson and, uh, Chris Kattan.
What She's Doing Now: Lisbeth Salander, the computer hacker who teams up with Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) to investigate a long-dormant crime, is all about revenge on The Man -- or the men, in some cases. With a strict moral code all her own, Salander's become a feminist heroine of sorts, as well as an accidental fashion icon.
Reminds Us of: Mara worked hard to transform herself into the spiky, body-modded heroine (yeah, those piercings are real), and her dangerous elf vibe definitely brings to mind the original Lisbeth, Noomi Rapace. Those impish dimples resemble those of fellow Lisbeth contender Carey Mulligan, and her big blue eyes remind us of Emily Blunt.
Fun Facts: In envisioning the character of Salander, Fincher took some visual cues from spitfire rapper Yo-Landi Vi$$er of Die Antwoord -- hence the funky bowl haircut and blonde eyebrows.
Quotable: Mara said, "Because of all the tattoos and the makeup and the piercings, and the physical transformations my body has to go through, it would always feel sort of like I was in costume, even if I was naked. It just felt like a good one to get -- a necessary one to get." In this instance, she's referring to her nipple piercing, but she also got her facial piercings done for really real, all in one go.
Shout Out: Mara is the great-granddaughter of both Pittsburgh Steelers founder Art Rooney Sr. and New York Giants founder Tim Mara, yet the actress takes little for granted. The notoriously hard-to-please Fincher told W magazine, "I wanted her from the beginning ... Rooney may be a trust-fund baby from football royalty, but she's levelheaded and hardworking. It's so odd how who people are comes out in auditions. We didn't make it easy for Rooney, and there was no way to dissuade her."
linked to Charles McDowell, son of Malcom "A Clockwork Orange" McDowell and Mary Steenbergen, but she's been walking the red carpet solo for "Tattoo."Famous Friends: Mara's been
What's Next: Mara's racking up the big-name directors; she's currently filming "Lawless," the next film by Terrence Malick, which stars Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett. According to Deadline, she has the option to be in second and third films in the Salander series, "The Girl Who Played With Fire" and "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest," although there are currently no details on when or if they'll film. Her name's also been bounced around for the remake of "Oldboy" and Kathryn Bigelow's film about Osama bin Laden.