Rooney Mara and soon-to-be former film director Steven Soderbergh recently bantered for Interview magazine about on-screen nudity, bad words, and dying inconveniently halfway through the filming of a new movie. Like, what if Rooney Mara just up and died halfway through filming The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? Would David Fincher have just said, "Screw it," and filled in all the empty spaces of his film with its Swedish predecessor? There are just too many dark timelines to consider.
More important than Mara's paranoia about mid-movie death, however, is her stance on on-screen nudity: nudity is no big deal as long as it makes sense within the context of the film and the filmmaker isn't someone, say, named Michael Bay or Robert Rodriguez. A nude scene is even more okay if it helps her avoid looking at Channing Tatum's big, stupid blockface. Speaking to Soderbergh, the Side Effects star said that there were limits to the angles she'd let her ladyparts be exposed for the mouth-breathing American cinephile:
I just do what I'm told, when I'm told. There is a line, though - like when you asked me to do reverse cowgirl with Channing [who plays Mara's husband in the movie], and I put my foot down. If the character should be nude in the scene and it makes sense and I trust the person making the film - and I regret my decision to trust you now that I know you more - then I don't see a problem with it. I certainly don't want to be involved in anything that is gratuitous, but I don't think the human body is something to be ashamed of.
Every other person on the planet has the same parts as I do. So seeing them shouldn't be a huge shock to most people
Soderbergh quipped in his defense, "First of all, reverse cowgirl occupies a very important position in porn - pun intended. Plus, you told me that you couldn't stand to look at Channing, so I was just trying to solve a problem." To which Mara responded, "If I recall, Channing didn't want to look at me."
Spoiler alert: they wind up facing each other, so we can only assume that everyone involved in this interview is being far too sarcastic and self-deprecating. As Elisabeth Shue (more or less) says in Hamlet 2, the best part of being an actor is obviously getting to spend time kissing and grinding up against the naked bodies of beautiful people, and finding out that they actually have a weird face growing out of their belly button. The second-best part is the catered food.
Rooney Mara talks about death and on-screen nudity [NYDN via Interview]