By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist December 28, 2011 at 9:00AM
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.