February 2011
Actress Rooney Mara embodies Lisbeth Salander, her character in “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” for The Movie Issue—facial piercings and all.
February 2011 Actress Rooney Mara embodies Lisbeth Salander, her character in “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” for The Movie Issue—facial piercings and all.
Photographed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino. Styled by Trish Somerville.

Rooney Mara has just signed on to play a world famous pop star who rises to stardom in the late 1990s and whose career continues to be a reflection of society over the next 15 years.

That might sound a whole lot like, "Oh, Rooney Mara is playing Britney Spears," but the available details of the flick make it seem much more complicated than that.

Entitled Vox Lux (which, yes, is Latin for "Voice of Light"), the film will see Mara playing a pop star known simply as "Celeste" who achieves fame after a national tragedy. According to Variety, the plot "tracks the important cultural evolutions of the 21st Century via her gaze."

So it's about a turn-of-the-millennium pop star, but really it's about the mess that has been America's past 15 years.

Sia, who has written songs for most of the actual turn-of-the-millennium-era pop stars, has been recruited to pen original tracks for Mara's character.

Twenty-eight-year-old writer and director Brady Corbet is the man bringing it all together. A former teen actor in films like Thirteen and Mysterious Skin, Corbet has since stepped behind the camera. His debut feature, Childhood of a Leader, starred Robert Pattinson and was a critical hit on the festival circuit. That film chronicles the childhood of a boy would go to be a sociopathic WWII fascist leader.

Which sounds about as far as one can get from a movie about a pop star, but Corbet thinks his second film will actually be pretty similar to his first.

"Childhood of a Leader and my upcoming project, Vox Lux, which chronicles the rise of a pop star are primarily concerned with the problem of worship and the deconstruction of familiar iconographies," he told Home News earlier this year.

Who would have thought that fascist dictators and pop stars could have that much in common? Well, maybe anyone who's noticed how some popstars' organized fan bases can seek to destroy anyone who dares cross their idle through mean Tweets and Instagram comments.

Interestingly, this will be Mara's second in-development artsy film about musicians. She's also set to appear in Terrence Malick's Weightless which is set in the Austin, Texas music scene. Mara actually began filming her scenes for that film in 2012, but filming on Vox Lux will begin next February. To up the artsy factor, the film will be shot entirely on 65mm large format film.