The Girl With the NFL Tattoo


rooney mara.JPGThe first round of the NFL playoffs is set, and as fate would have it, one Golden Globe-nominated actress has a rooting interest in both of this Sunday’s games. You could say it’s in her blood. In fact, every syllable of 26-year-old Rooney Mara’s name oozes football tradition.

That’s because the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo star’s great-grandfather, Art Rooney, founded the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1933. Meanwhile, the New York Giants are co-owned by her uncle, John Mara, and were previously controlled by her grandfather, the late Wellington Mara. Two legendary, blue-collar franchises led by classy men. A dozen Super Bowl appearances between them. And this young lady has had a front-row seat.

Rooney, who refers to herself as “very shy, aloof and quiet,” talked about growing up in a football family in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly. But the quote that really struck me had nothing to do with Super Bowls or the way she spent her Sunday afternoons as a child. Rather, it was a comment about how entertainment informed her view of sexuality at a young age.

When asked what inspired her to pursue acting, she mentioned that her mom had raised her on old movies such as Gone With the Wind and Bringing Up Baby, then added, “I was really into Broadway musicals. I’ve seen Les Misérables, like, six times. And I was obsessed with Rent. I knew all the words. That’s where I got my sex ed from, listening to those songs. I’d be like, ‘What does that mean? What’s S&M?'”

Oh boy.

Of course, it’s reasonable to assume that various forces have shaped her view of sexuality over the years. Images. Messages. Peers. Adolescents get hit from all sides. Likewise, no one is suggesting that Rent single-handedly inspired Rooney to appear in graphic scenes of nudity, sexuality and rape in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. But we can’t dismiss her comments, either. The fact that she recognizes media’s influence in her life proves that it can leave a mark—and not just on one shy little girl who attended football games after church on Sundays.

Who wrote this?

Senior Editor for PLUGGEDIN.COM. In addition to hosting the weekly "Official Plugged In Podcast," Bob also writes reviews, articles and Movie Nights discussion guides, and manages areas of this website. He has served at Focus on the Family for more than 20 years. Since 1995, Bob has penned "High Voltage," a monthly column that answers children's entertainment questions in Clubhouse magazine. He has co-authored several books, including Chart Watch, Movie Nights, Movie Nights for Teens and, most recently, The One Year Father-Daughter Devotions. Bob is also co-host of "The Official Adventures in Odyssey Podcast."

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Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Lisbeth:

I agree with Kathleen.  Rooney Mara did NOT spend x amount of months auditioning for the role of Lisbeth Salander out of some inner desire to explore the "curious" world of sex.  I saw a YouTube video where Mara herself said that she became passionate about getting the role after reading all three books and seeing the movies in the original Swedish.  Heck, the first time she showed up to audition, she was turned away and told that she was "too nice" and "too pretty".  One of the challenges of being an actor sometimes is to try to become a character who might be the complete opposite of you.  Rooney Mara was riveted by this unusual character of Lisbeth Salander and worked incredibly hard to get this role.  Every A-list actress in Hollywood was her competition.  I haven't seen the movie yet but, based on what I've seen and heard, I'm really impressed with how much work Rooney Mara put into nailing this role.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Kathleen:

Mara is an actor.  The job of an actor is to, you know, act.  I have no idea what you're attempting to do by selectively linking a recent role and a particular Broadway play, but it comes off as pseudo-pyschology driven by a particular axe to grind.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Bob:

In this society, I learned more than I thought I should've quickly. I never really let it out (I may tell a joke to a select group of people once in a while) but my innocence went like that. When I gave the impression that I didn't know about this people laughed at me and said that they'd have a "talk" with me on the bus. When I managed to explain it to them that I knew what happened (I had a vague understanding emphasis on vague) they believed me, but it strook me how fast a kids knowledge could expand. I afraid of how fast my kids will learn in the future.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Lisbeth:

When I was 14, the European kids at the private international school that I attended decided to tell every kid who still hadn't had "the talk" with their parents everything that they knew about sex.  Ever since then, in spite of all the sex that's come out of the mouths of my peers and pop culture, I've still maintained a good moral compass.  I don't let society's carefree views on sex tarnish my more conservative, Catholic views on sex.  Learning about sex-related stuff from people other than your parents has become an inevitable fact of life in today's society.  My parents realized that when they had "the talk" with me at 17 and realized, to their horror, that I already knew about everything that they were gonna talk to me about.  Even when we had our "Dragon Tattoo" talk, they were shocked that I, at 18, knew the terms that they were using to describe some of the graphic scenes.  Still, there's stuff that I don't know.  Shortly before the first day of college, I embarassed myself during an Orientation scavenger hunt when I picked up a small packaged ring at the university's Health Center and dropped it in horror and disgust when a peer informed me that I was holding a condom.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  kate:

I think Rooney Mara knew exactly what she was getting into with the role of Lisbeth Salander. It's one of those all-or-nothing type roles, she totally went for it and did a great job. I don't think I've ever seen such dedication. All around, I see entertainment as a great educator even in its worst form.