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Casting Watch: Rooney Mara Replaces Mia Wasikowska in Todd Haynes' 'Carol,' Starring Cate Blanchett UPDATED

by Beth Hanna
August 29, 2013 11:28 AM
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Rooney Mara in "Side Effects"
Rooney Mara in "Side Effects"

UPDATE: Rooney Mara will play one of two leads in Todd Haynes' "Carol," adapted from Patricia Highsmith's landmark lesbian novella "The Price of Salt." Cate Blanchett is set to play the title role, while Mara will play Therese Belivet, an aspiring set designer who falls for the elegant and older Carol. Mia Wasikowska was previously attached to the role of Therese.

Mara was most recently seen in David Lowery's Western "Ain't Them Bodies Saints," and is in Spike Jonze's upcoming NYFF premiere "Her." She also has the untitled Austin music-scene film from Terrence Malick in the pipeline, along with Stephen Daldry's "Trash." Blanchett recently wowed critics with her turn in Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" (TOH! believes she's the one to beat for the Best Actress Oscar), and will be seen in George Clooney's "Monuments Men" this fall, as well as the next installment of "The Hobbit." She too has been filming with Malick, for both "Knight of Cups" and the untitled production.

Filming for "Carol" begins in spring of 2014.

EARLIER: In one of their final deals at Cannes, the Weinstein Company has snapped up US rights to "Carol," set to be directed by Todd Haynes (HBO's "Mildred Pierce") and starring Cate Blanchett and Mia Wasikowska. The film is a new adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novella, "The Price of Salt." 

Cate Blanchett
Justin Smith Cate Blanchett

The company also bought into, along with Relativity, the troubled production "Jane Got A Gun," which Cannes juror Lynne Ramsay quit on the first day of production a month after star Michael Fassbender left. Jude Law and Bradley Cooper followed suit. Gavin O'Connor ("Warriors") is now helming the $25 million western, which is produced by Natalie Portman and David Bois scion Regency Bois, and now stars Joel Edgerton, Ewan McGregor and Noah Emmerich. Exclusive Media showed footage to potential buyers at Cannes.

Highsmith's work certainly isn't a stranger to film adaptations; "Strangers on a Train" and "The Talented Mr. Ripley" are among her most famous stories that have received the big-screen treatment. (Meanwhile, Kirsten Dunst is starring alongside Viggo Mortensen and "Inside Llewyn Davis" breakout star Oscar Isaac in "The Two Faces of January," set for a European release later this year.)

Phyllis Nagy ("Mrs. Harris") has penned the adaptation. Here's a more detailed synopsis:

Carol is a love story about pursuit, betrayal and passion that follows the burgeoning relationship between two very different women in 1950s New York. One, a girl in her twenties working in a department store who dreams of a more fulfilling life, and the other, a wife trapped in a loveless, moneyed marriage desperate to break free but fearful of losing her daughter in the process.

More TWC acquisition news out of the Cannes Market is here.


  • Kate | August 29, 2013 2:00 PMReply

    I like Mia but I never saw her in this role, on screen she looks very young. My dream casting would have been Elizabeth Debicki opposite Blanchett. They appeared to have great chemistry in The Maids (although granted, I only saw photos).

  • Jamie | August 29, 2013 12:14 PMReply

    Rooney always plays lesbian characters. Never really seen her play extroverted, it's always the introverted mousy monotonous ones.

  • matt | August 29, 2013 3:25 PM

    Mia and Rooney are blonde/brunette versions of themselves. They're the go to's in Hollywood for the serious quiet ones. Except that Rooney is more monotonous. I can't stand her robotic voice even in interviews.

  • Guest | August 29, 2013 3:18 PM

    "Never really seen her play extroverted, it's always the introverted mousy monotonous ones."

    Exactly Mia Wasikowska.

  • LORDJIM | August 29, 2013 11:45 AMReply

    Sigh. This is a huge step downward. Mara has the charisma of a wet towel.

  • Leon | August 29, 2013 11:42 AMReply

    Anyone is better than Mia YAWN Wasikowska

  • Ted | May 28, 2013 3:43 PMReply

    Knowing the content of "The Price of Salt," it would seem hard to adapt the story in the contemporary era (without updating certain plot points), but I hope Haynes chooses to go this route. I just feel a contemporary setting for this story would add a lot of life to his film. I felt the period-aspects of Far from Heaven weighed the film down a bit, though it worked in Mildred Pierce.

  • dean | May 29, 2013 4:28 AM

    Ted: The pre-Stonewall setting is the most essential element of the plot and atmosphere of The Price of Salt. Might as well chuck the book out all together if the story were to be made contemporary. Also, Far From Heaven is meant to be heavy with period aspects since it's an homage to Douglas Sirk films of the era. Haynes' other films, like Mildred Pierce, have not been stylized in such a way since.

    Have to say, Mildred Pierce felt very conventional compared to Haynes' past work, but I think that owes to it being for TV. I hope this movie will lend itself to a more interesting style.

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