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Rooney Mara Says Terrence Malick's 'Lawless' Won't Shoot Until September; Michael Sheen Reveals Role In Untitled Romance

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by Oliver Lyttelton
December 28, 2011 9:00 AM
13 Comments
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Rooney Mara, Lawless, Michael Sheen, Malick

While "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" might not have been the box office smash the studio were hoping for (it turns out there's a reason people don't open three-hour-long R-rated thrillers the week before Christmas), there's one person who's done pretty well out of the whole thing: Rooney Mara. Only eighteen months ago, the actress was best known as the much-derided lead of the "Nightmare On Elm Street" remake, and for being twelfth-billed in "Youth In Revolt." But then she took a small role in David Fincher's "The Social Network," a performance that saw her win the much sought-after part of Lisbeth Salander in the director's next film, and if anyone's come out smelling of roses, it's her.

While we wait for any news of a potential sequel to 'Dragon Tattoo' (which certainly appears less likely than it did before opening), Mara's schedule is looking pretty clear, the actress having seemingly turned down parts in "Oldboy" and Warren Beatty's comeback film. And the actress tells Entertainment Weekly that it's likely to remain that way for a while. Despite her announced role in Terrence Malick's next film, "Lawless," and set photos showing her with Malick's crew and co-star Ryan Gosling, the film won't actually shoot for another nine months.

When pressed on the project, Mara tells EW, "That's something that I hope to do, but it's unfortunately not until September." As with the video footage of Christian Bale and Malick shooting in Austin from earlier in the year, that was only pre-production work, helping the actors, and Malick, to get a pinpoint on their characters, and Mara isn't going to be the one to spill the beans. "I want to work with people who have a vision and who are uncompromising in the way that they make films, and Terry is one of those people. He’s incredible. He’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever come into contact with. But I’m not going to give away his secrets."

But it's also interesting to note that Mara seems a bit uncertain about whether or not she'll be doing the movie at all. Asked directly by EW again if she will "definitely" be in the movie, the actress remains coy, only saying, "Yeah, I hope to." Could Malick still be retooling/figuring out "Lawless"? Yeah, probably. And Mara is likely aware that her character could change dramatically in the space of a year, and we'd guess she's wisely avoiding making any declarative statements about who she'll play or what it might turn out to be. 

All in all, this presumably suggests that we won't be seeing "Lawless," or the Bale-starring "Knight of Cups" (which looks like it will shoot first) for some time yet. But it's more and more likely that we'll be seeing something from Malick relatively soon, with his Ben Affleck/Rachel McAdams untitled drama/romance looking likely to land sometime in 2012, and one of its stars has been a little more open in discussing the project. Michael Sheen, who was revealed long after filming to be part of the cast, was the star guest on the typically excellent Christmas special of Mark Kermode & Simon Mayo's BBC Film Review show, and the actor discussed his small part in the film, and how it came to pass.

"My girlfriend [McAdams] was in a film that Terrence Malick did so I went to visit her on set, and apparently, if you're an actor and you turn up on a Terrence Malick set, he asks you to be in his film. So I got to be Ben Affleck's boss for a day," 

Sheen told Kermode & Mayo.

 It's an interesting glimpse as to Malick's casting process (one that mirrors what Jessica Chastain told us a few weeks ago about her cameo in the same project), and suggests that, if Sheen makes the final cut at all, it'll be a very brief turn. We'll find out when Malick's next lands sometime in 2012.

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13 Comments

  • jingmei | December 29, 2011 2:00 AMReply

    Start to pay less attetion to Rooney Mara, since she maybe should be more down to earth, depite the fact that ever worked with David Fincher, and adjust her declaration kind of consistent all the way.

  • jimmiescoffee | December 28, 2011 9:14 PMReply

    ok, let me try again, and then we can agree to disagree. i like mara and i loved her performance, oscar worthy for sure. of course she wants to work with "people who have a vision and who are uncompromising in the way that they make films" but shes still awfully new to think she can call those shots. i'm not putting her down (i guess you're her protector). it's just not always gonna be fincher and malick nurturing her performances. so go ahead and giggle while she keeps "terry's secrets."

  • Linda | December 29, 2011 2:33 AM

    She's paying a compliment to Fincher and Malick, what is so hard to understand here? Have you ever seen a press junket interview before?

  • jimmiescoffee | December 28, 2011 6:28 PMReply

    @ARON maybe just worry about GWTDT not flopping in the long haul before trying to become catherine deneuve.

  • aron | December 28, 2011 8:02 PM

    yeah, still don't get your point. Every actor wants to work with great directors. Why should she worry about Dragon Tattoo flopping? That's not her job.

  • jimmiescoffee | December 28, 2011 5:15 PMReply

    it would be a shame if fincher did not do gwtdt part 2,3 because lets face it, the first film will be labeled a failure. its actually a really nice piece of work. that being said, i'd also rather see fincher do all the other films he hinted at in the past 10 years. damn i wish 'torso' and 'rendezvous with rama' weren't dead.

    as for mara, when did she become such an authority on directors with a "vision and who are uncompromising in the way that they make film?" i guess 'nightmare on elm street' is an underrated gem? i like her a lot in gwtdt (actually love) but am kind of confused by her "A list" status all of a sudden. she must know someone. wink.

  • Jules | December 28, 2011 10:13 PM

    JIMMIESCOFFEE just got owned. lol

  • aron | December 28, 2011 6:20 PM

    "when did she become such an authority on directors with a 'vision and who are uncompromising in the way that they make film?'" This question confuses me. She didn't present herself as an authority, did she? Before Social Network, she didn't have the opportunity to work with directors like that. Now that she does, she's making use of it.

  • HenrytheCrimefighter | December 28, 2011 4:52 PMReply

    Pre-production work involves holding hands with BABY GOOSE? I would like to be involved in "pre production" work too... ;)

  • Cde. | December 28, 2011 10:05 AMReply

    "that was only pre-production work, helping the actors, and Malick, to get a pinpoint on their characters..."
    You don't need to lug around an Arri Alexa for that. My guess is that Malick just wanted to take advantage of the music festivals being in his home state and start getting some footage. I don't think even Malick knows if it will end up in the film or not.

  • spacefreak | December 28, 2011 10:21 AM

    Cde. -

    That's an interesting notion, and in my mind a more likely one than the "this is just pre-production" theory. It's a very freeing approach how Malick can simply shoot this way without the aid of extra lighting and a larger crew, but simply mingle with people (something he advantage of with the Affleck feature as well, as reported from around Oklahoma and Paris) and shoot on the fly. Possibly a stimulating approach to get the feel of moments being found, and not planned.

  • spacefreak | December 28, 2011 10:03 AMReply

    Could it be that the entire shooting scedule of the two back-to-back projects("Lawless" and "Knight of Cups") has been pushed back from June(meaning "Lawless" is still going to shoot first) so to possibly accommodate prolonged post-production on the Affleck starrer? Who knows, Malick is known to take his time editing.. Either way, is it known whether Malick would make full use of the time editing the Affleck vehicle up until the two new projects start shooting, or are the finishing touches on the IMAX feature "The Voyage of Time" meant to be squeezed in between? - Just to get a bearing on when we can expect a trailer for the "Untitled romance," which is likely to surface once Malick has left the editing room for good and a US distributor (hereafter) has been found.

  • Cde. | December 29, 2011 6:41 AM

    Back in August Malick said in a statement to FIPRESCI that he plans to work on The Voyage of Time when the untitled romance is finished. If that's still the case, a move from June to a September start for his next two features makes me more confident that the IMAX film will see completion in the next year.

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