Rooney Mara and Jude Law are currently promoting Side Effects in Europe. Here they are yesterday at the Berlinale, photo call and premiere. She wore black and white Balenciaga for the daytime event, and black Valentino in the evening. Very strong styling. And smiling only with no teeth. Because as she told Vogue last month:
“Why should I ‘fake smile’? It feels disingenuous to me. I want to smile when something happy happens, so if I do smile, you know it’s real.”
Rooney Mara pretends to be other people for a living. But she doesn’t smile on a red carpet because that would be fake...? She would never want to be fake. She’s the opposite of fake. She’s also very, very shy. Those were the themes from that Vogue interview -- did you read it? If you read it, this is what you would have learned:
Rooney Mara is not fake and she’s very shy. Almost every other comment, every other answer to a question was an opportunity to declare her reticence, her reserved nature, that she’s an introvert, like it was some kind of reminder to the reader. Don’t forget OK? Rooney Mara is SHY. Here are a few examples:
-“I didn’t love being in a class—that’s very hard for me”
- “I had a lot of anxiety growing up because I was so shy, so I could relate to that part of it (for my character in Side Effects). But severe clinical depression is a whole other thing, and I guess I never really knew how bad it can get.”
Even a reference to her stylist, Ryan Hastings, turned into a subtle self attribute-check:
-“I love him. He’s very quiet and thoughtful, and we just instantly got along.”
Because she’s so shy, she’s a reluctant fashion girl.
-“For Dragon Tattoo, I had eight different premieres, this many different photo calls. It’s a lot to plan for. It’s not like you can just show up. The thing is, it’s kind of an annoying part of the job—because I’m not a model, and I don’t want to be. I didn’t try to be a style icon. I’m just not that interested in that world. But it does matter, and either I can fight that or I just have to accept that it is a part of my job, and I may as well wear things that I like and that represent me.”
But, you know, she is co-chairing the MET Gala this year with Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci. Where there will be so many cameras. This makes her very uncomfortable because she doesn’t like being the centre of attention, this ACTRESS:
-“(It’s) a nightmare! It’s a panic attack waiting to happen. I don’t even like people to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me. When we wrap a film and everyone claps and cheers, I turn red. And then I have to walk out onto the middle of this carpet and there are all these photographers, and they’re all screaming at you. And usually there’s a party at the other end of it, so it’s not even like I have solace at the end of the carpet! It’s like then I have to walk into my other nightmare!”
That’s why she likes the anonymity of the city. The city protects the shy. But, being so shy and sensitive, it also makes her susceptible to emotion infection. So many emotions. Shy Rooney (ha! Andy Samberg get on this!) can’t help but absorb all those emotions:
“I feel like in the city you can be very alone and disappear. And so I love that because I like to be alone a lot. I think part of the reason is I’m like a sponge. If I’m in a group, I get exhausted immediately picking up everyone’s feelings. If they’re sad, I take it all on, and I can feel it.” Although it’s useful for her craft, “it’s just not that useful for life!” she says. “I’ll go to the grocery store or something, and come home and be exhausted because I’ve really picked up someone else’s sadness or shame . . . anything. It really affects me. I’ve had to figure out a way to turn that off, and that makes me a little bit more guarded.”
Shy Rooney is so shy, you see, she’s almost ill-equipped to participate in the world. She is too gentle for the world:
“I would like to do a play someday,” she says, “but I find it really scary. I hate being onstage.” For her, a first day on set “is like the first week of school: all these new people. I always get nervous in the beginning. But you know, it’s so intimate [that] you get used to it.”
Are you exhausted by her shyness? Her shyness dominated that entire article. Is there such thing as deliberate shyness? Shyness on purpose? Or does shyness cease to exist when it’s premeditated?
Part of it has to do with maturity. Rooney, like many before her, might believe that happy girls can’t be taken seriously, professionally. In her business, Jennifer Lawrence would appear to disprove that theory. Emma Stone too. Perhaps reality tv has something to do with it.
More and more, as talentless famewhores with sex-tapes and housewives and Jersey douches have gained notoriety, shamelessly bending over for attention, have the legitimate celebrities been compelled to distance themselves from the lower tier by fronting like they’re “aloof”? Is that the only the way to distinguish between them? Either way though, isn’t it all still self-promotion?
Click here to read the full Rooney Mara piece in Vogue.