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The secret life of Rooney Mara: Soundbites, privacy and ‘living in the dark ages’

Rooney Mara says she does not want to be “reduced to a soundbite” as her success grows – and is determined to preserve her privacy.

The actress, who is nominated for an Oscar for Carol, said remaining mysterious was vital to help audiences believe in her characters.

Mara, 30, also told the Standard she was happy to shun social media even if it meant living “in the dark ages”.

She said: “I think people that I’m close to think that I’ve always been a secretive person.

“I think a lot of people who don’t do that, who are considered to be open and have a personality, I don’t think it’s necessarily them. It’s easy to put people in a box and say, ‘This is them’, but people are very interesting and complex.

“I don’t think you can get someone just by looking at a picture of them and getting a sound-bite. I don’t want to be reduced to that.

“Especially for women — there’s very few boxes you can be put in. You could be the extrovert, or you could by the shy one.

“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.”

Mara, who also starred in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, is nominated for best supporting actress at the Oscars for her role as Therese in Carol.

Her co-star Cate Blanchett is up for best actress for playing Carol in the film, which follows the two characters as they embark on a love affair in the Fifties.

Mara, who is dating director Charlie McDowell, said she longed for the simpler ways of the era, adding: “It’s the little things like having to call each other on the pay phone, the longing and uncertainty.

“Now everyone is a text message away and leaves romanticism to be desired.

“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.”

Mara said it had been a rare joy to work on a Hollywood script with two strong female leads.

She explained: “Therese is in awe of Carol and can’t even believe that a woman like that could exist, and there are qualities in Carol that she wants herself.

“Certainly I felt that way about working with Cate — I was and I am in awe of her. I don’t get to generally work with women that often.”

Mara, who lives in New York, also revealed she may soon be appearing on the West End stage. She said: “I’m reading a bunch of different plays at the moment and one of them would be in London, and I would love to do that at some point.

“No I haven’t [done much stage]. I’ve never really done it and I’m terrified of it, but it’s something I really want to do.”