Quoting Rooney

Below is a list of memorable quotes from Rooney compiled by the staff of Rooney Mara Archives from magazine transcripts and online interviews throughout her career so far. If you would like to know the the source for any of the quotes found below, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Enjoy!

Quotes from 2017

  • — I like to spend a lot of time in bed. If I could take all my meetings and calls there, I would love that.

    — Auditioning is like going on a job interview. You have to wear a certain outfit and behave a certain way and play the game a little bit, and I’m just not good at that. I’m really not.

    — I definitely consume a lot of my entertainment through Netflix. I use it all the time and like being able to watch things comfortably in my own home. I have nostalgia for the way that people used to watch movies, though. There’s still something special about watching a movie in a theatre with an audience. It’s an experience.

    — I have more trust now in the universe and things happening when they’re supposed to. What I try to live by now is: It doesn’t matter what other people think. I try to live for myself. I have to get good at myself, which is a challenge. I’m the meanest critic there is.

    — I’ve always been a very intense person. So I’ve always had a very intense stare. I think you can always tell a lot about how I’m feeling just by my body language. That’s not something I think too much about when I’m working. It’s just part of who I am. Anyone can read me. I’m a really terrible liar. I’ve never tried to play poker. But I’m guessing I couldn’t.

    (On her sister, Kate) She has a better personality than I do. People like her more.

    (On filming A Ghost Story) I’m inherently a secretive person. It’s just fun and exciting to do something in secret. And also, there’s no pressure, there aren’t these weird expectations, it really felt like making something for ourselves.

    (On filming The Secret Scripture) I felt completely at home in Ireland. Except that doing the Irish accent was hard. It’s a hard accent to master and one that – even I can hear – often ends up being done horribly. Doing it was terrifying. Especially being on set with real Irish people.

  • Quotes from 2016

  • — For me, directors are everything. I love directors. I worship them. It’s why I love what I do and so to me that is sort of the biggest factor in any decision I make.

    — People want me—people want girls—to be grateful, gracious, poised. Not real. I watch interviews from the 1970s, of Patti Smith or John Cassavetes, and everyone’s smoking, drinking, totally misbehaving, but they’re being completely authentic, and I’m so jealous because that would never happen today. There’s always a pre-interview, so you know what jokes you have to hit, and there’s nothing genuine about it. And I hate that. I hate being a phony. I hate having to censor myself.

    — I love looking at fashion—it’s a form of art, completely. And I’m very interested in aesthetics. But in my life, in L.A., I’m usually in workout clothes or pajamas, because I hate getting dressed in the morning.

    — As an actor, you can’t just be in the film. You’re also in charge of selling it, and so you have to sell yourself, and you have to be very political and make sure to not say the wrong things. It’s exhausting. A lot of pressure is put on the people who were hired to make—not even to make, to be a part of making—the thing.

    — People think that I grew up going to Barneys for my back-to-school clothes. I went to the Gap. We lived in a nice house on a cul-de-sac, but it wasn’t a mansion. We didn’t have a butler or a maid.

    — I really hate, hate, hate that I am on that side of the whitewashing conversation. I really do. I don’t ever want to be on that side of it again. I can understand why people were upset and frustrated.

    — I don’t use social media. I’m always in the dark ages and sometimes I feel like I’m the last to know everything. But it’s just not for me. People blurt out anything that they think, especially with social media … I think people should spend a lot more time thinking before they speak.

    — I’ve always been a very sensitive person, and people tell me that if I’m in a certain mood and I go into a room, my mood will permeate the room. It’s not on purpose—I’d rather be invisible in those moments—but I’m really bad at faking how I feel. Like, my emotions kind of live all over my body at all times, and there’s not a good way for me to hide it.

    (On The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) It was such a unique, singular experience that will never be able to be replicated, and because of that, I’m just so lucky that I have it. It’s always going to be a part of me and I’ll always have it. I can always look back on it, but I’ll never be able to replicate it. Ever.

    (On shunning social media) Part of being an actor is having the ability to let an audience project what they want onto you. It’s harder to do when you know who they are dating, or those little things about them that have little bearing on what we do.”

    (On walking the red carpets) I don’t think it is ever something you look forward to. For me, it is an irritating part of the job. I try and make the most of it and have fun with it. But it is like this weird other thing. It has nothing to do with movies. It has become this thing unto itself.

  • Quotes from 2015

  • — I don’t have a process. I mean, I like to do a lot of research and reading for each part, but I find that stuff so boring to talk about. Like, who wants to hear about that, really?

    — When I was starting out it was really frustrating because it felt like all the parts out there were ‘the girlfriend’ or whatever. There was no real person behind most of those characters. In the last five years that’s changed and I’ve had the opportunity to play a range of well-realised characters. But a lot of the time it feels like I’m reading the best female dialogue out there. There have been years where there’s been nothing that’s interested me. You get scripts through and the dialogue is just horrible. It’s so weird. People just don’t know how to write female dialogue. So many men are afraid of writing female dialogue. We’re not that different, you know, we’re all human. But it’s changing. There are a lot more female writers and I sincerely hope that there will be a lot more female directors in the future as well. The fact that we’re even having this conversation, that’s a start.

    — I always watch myself back at least once, but usually just out of respect for the filmmaker. Before the Cannes premiere [of Carol], Todd [Haynes] had been trying to get me to watch the film for six months and I kept putting it off. It’s one of those things where you end up noticing all the little flaws and mistakes that probably no one else notices but seem huge to me. It’s like, I have a teeny-tiny snaggletooth that sticks out a little bit, which to me is a flaw. But there’s always two ways of looking at things, and so I’ve learned to acknowledge the fact that it also gives my face character. Now I love my little snaggletooth.

    — My thing is, if I can’t be a person in the world, how can I be a person in a film? If you don’t have life experience, then how can you pretend? Even now, if I work too much, I have to take time off. I have to fill myself back up with life and what it feels like to be human.

    — Any time you receive an award is a huge honour. But even the award in Cannes, which was something I did not expect at all, I probably felt really good about myself for about a day and then the next day I was back to being me, with the same goals and same hang-ups. Awards are great, but they don’t make me feel like suddenly I’ve arrived.

    — I think you can convey a lot through silence. I’ve always been drawn to actors who are really good at that – Marion Cotillard is someone I could watch do anything, she just exudes so much feeling and emotion in everything she does. I could watch her doing laundry and it would be interesting. With Carol, the script already had those moments, but it’s something I try to bring to every part I play. Emoting through silence is something that comes very naturally to me.

    (On the acclaim for Carol) The reception at Cannes was better than anything I could have dreamed of. The Best Actress award was totally unexpected and I was so shocked by it. My first reaction was that, ‘Oh, I wish it could have been the film, or Todd or Cate…’ I want everyone else to win. But at the same time the film had already won in every way with the way it was received, so I was pleased.

  • Quotes from 2013

  • — If The Social Network hadn’t happened, I don’t know what path I would have gone on. I think I would have kept trying to find things I believed in, but I don’t know.

    — I have always been very self-possessed. I always knew who I was and who I wanted to be — and who I didn’t want to be. Maybe I was too serious as a little girl, but I wanted to be taken seriously. I was never that concerned with being liked; I was always more concerned with being respected. More to the point, I wasn’t going to change who I was to get people to like me.

    — I am a bit of a weirdo, but I think most people are. I don’t think I’m special because of that.

    — Acting shouldn’t be exposing. You’re putting on all these costumes and putting on all these characters… I think sometimes acting can be a way for people to escape themselves and to be able to pretend to be someone else, and that shouldn’t be exposing at all.

    — When I was at college, my nickname was Keds, because I wore Keds. I guess it wasn’t really a nickname, because nicknames are usually given to you by people who are your friends and who know you. But I didn’t know the people who called me Keds. I think that they didn’t like me because I didn’t want to join a sorority. I left that school.

    — I like my anonymity. I like to walk around alone, and get lost in my thoughts and observe other people. It would be a shame to not be able to do that, to not be able to be invisible and observe others.

    — Do I care about reviews? Yes and no. I tend to not put too much credence in what other people think, but then, of course, you are curious as to what other people think and you want people to respect you. So, I don’t know. At the end of the day, I am so much more critical of myself than anyone else could be, and I know when something I’ve done is really bad or kind of good.

    — After a movie I always feel a little lost. While you’re doing it you feel like you’re having some sort of revelation, like it’s real, and then its over and you’re like, ‘That was not real.’

    — I have hidden rhythm — like, I’m a crazy dancer when I’m alone — but I’m a little too shy to let it come out in public.

    — I can walk around anywhere. It doesn’t happen very often that people recognize me, but it has been happening more often recently, but not really that much. It happens the most in New York. Like I said, hardly ever. Maybe people do recognize me but maybe I’m not very approachable.

    — In high school, people thought I was stuck-up because I didn’t talk to anyone. It was just because I was shy and scared, but I think because I’m super-self-possessed that it doesn’t come across as scared so much as stuck-up.

    — I like to read a lot. I don’t spend that much time not working, but I’m not working now and I haven’t really been doing anything. I like to walk around different cities. I like to travel a lot. My charity takes up a lot of time.

    (On her sister, Kate) We’re so different there’s never been competitiveness between us in work. She is outgoing and fun and I have looked up to her all my life – to the point of annoying her and wanting to be like her. I followed her around and stole her clothes.

  • Quotes from 2012

  • — My dad is one of 11 children and I am one of 40 grandchildren. I didn’t grow up poor by any means, but I didn’t grow up in some crazy dynasty.

    (On filming The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in Sweden) The winters are brutal there. “It’s pitch black from 3.30pm, and once the snow is on the ground it’s there until spring.

    (On starting out as an actress) I always wanted to act. I just didn’t want to go to school and learn to act. I wanted to go to school to learn other stuff. Kate had been an actress for so long, working since she was 12, so it was beyond helpful to have her around. I can’t imagine having moved here without her being here – it’s hard enough being an actress starting out in LA, let alone doing it by yourself.

  • Quotes from 2011

  • — I’m really shy and then I’m not. I’m really slow to warm up to people and slow to trust people. I’m not shy with people I’m super-comfortable with.

    — I grew up with my mom, enjoying old films and going to the theatre. My mom wasn’t a film buff per se, but she was always playing films like Gone With the Wind and Bringing Up Baby. And I did silly little acting classes, so I always knew I wanted to act in some capacity.

    (On her first visit to Kenya) I was quite bored at university. I was taking this ‘writing about Africa’ class. And I was really sick of being in a classroom, so I decided to go somewhere in Africa. Obviously I’d never seen anything like it before. It was shocking. It’s the size of Central Park, but there are more than one million people living there. It was crazy to be there and think about Central Park and then think about putting a million people in that space, and what it would be like, what it would look like, what it would smell like. So, it’s quite shocking. It’s also shocking because you’re in this horrific slum, and then, down the street, are diplomats living in these huge mansions. It’s very extreme.

    (On changing her name) I just liked it better. My dad and my little brother both go by their middle names, it didn’t feel that strange to me. Unfortunately it didn’t disassociate me from football but I think it’s a really cool name and I never really liked my first name, Patricia. A lot of people in my family go by their middle name so it was the natural course.

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