It took a lot of work for Rooney Mara to become the tattooed Lisbeth Salander. For David Fincher's big-screen adaptation of Stieg Larsson's bestselling "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," the actress didn't just have to think like the famed fictional hacker: It was a process to get into not just the mind, but also the body of the 24-year-old character — and Rooney's transformation into the broken and abused Lisbeth lingered with her long after shooting the film.
When MTV News asked if she carried herself differently while playing the character, Mara explained, "I think that I probably did. It's hard to look at yourself in that way. I think it'll be easier for me to really see that years from now. It's impossible to leave it behind whenever it's attached to your head and your body. But when you work 16 hours a day, there isn't really time to do anything else but go home and go to sleep."
Playing Lisbeth certainly comes with a unique skill set that goes far beyond just understanding her dark backstory. Given Lisbeth's penchant for computer hacking, motorcycles and physical activity, it comes as no surprise that Mara had to undergo some intense training for the physically and emotionally demanding role, one that had already been imagined once before by Noomi Rapace in a 2009 film version of the novels.
"That's my favorite thing about my job is that your education never really stops," Mara shared. "I feel like I went to school: I had motorcycle class from 9 to 11, and then I went to dialect class, and then I had skateboarding, and then I had computer training, and then I had kickboxing. I just feel like I learned so much. And that's kind of the most incredible part about my job is I got to acquire all these skills that I never really wanted or needed, but now I have them."
Whatever Mara did seems to have worked. Her performance is garnering her and the film some high critical praise. The flick opened Tuesday (December 20), and also features Daniel Craig, Stellan SkarsgÅrd, Christopher Plummer and Robin Wright.
Check out everything we've got on "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."
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