Since zooming to stardom in last year’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Rooney Mara has gone from virtual unknown to that rare combination of serious actress and fashion-world darling. Recently named a face of Calvin Klein, Mara is no ingenue. Instead, she evokes the intensity of the seventies, when the world of filmmaking was dominated by passionate auteurs. As with those directors—and her brilliant mentor, David Fincher—Mara is both complicated and uncompromising.
Who from the seventies do you find interesting?
Stylewise, the person I’m most drawn to is Ali MacGraw. There was something about her that was very regal but very natural at the same time. We kind of modeled my character in The Social Network after her: I had a crocheted beret that was inspired by the one she wore in Love Story.
What was the worst fashion trend of that decade?
I find the way men dressed then to be kind of repulsive—especially disco style. I like almost all of the women’s fashion—and I think men in little shorts and high socks are really cute—but I don’t like anything shiny, and much of the seventies was shiny.
What’s your favorite movie of that era?
Paper Moon. I saw it only last year. David [Fincher] made me watch it, and I think I’ve seen it five times since then. My favorite scene is when Ryan O’Neal is talking about how he’s going to leave Addie [Tatum O’Neal, who plays his daughter in the movie]. They’re mad at each other, but Addie comes up with something clever, and they get back together. I love that ending—it’s not too happy-happy.