Watching her movies – particularly her Oscar-nominated turn in the chilling The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – people may not think Rooney Mara has much of a sense of humor. But they would be oh-so-wrong, as her Q&A with Steven Soderbergh (who directed the actress in Side Effects) in the March issue of Interview quickly establishes. The two are quick to insult each other while delving into their respective pasts as well as their working relationship.
As an editor’s addition before the piece notes, “This interview was conducted via e-mail, and contains coarse language, discussions of nudity, and exorbitant amounts of biting sarcasm. Reader discretion is advised.”
Below, the five best non-sequitur-filled exchanges from the two’s back-and-forth, which you can – and should – read in full over on Interview’s web site.
1.) SODERBERGH: So why didn’t you win the Oscar?
MARA: Lots of reasons … I know how much you love your Oscar. My dog’s name is Oskar.
SODERBERGH: As an Oscar-winner, I find that incredibly insulting.
2.) SODERBERGH: In our movie, Side Effects, you were asked to play a woman who is struggling with clinical depression—amongst other things. I must note for the record that, as your director, I did not see you do any preparation for this role. Do you wing it all the time, or were you just trying to f*** up this movie specifically?
MARA: Clearly, on the eve of your retirement, you stopped paying attention to everything. When I do a film, I follow the director. And because you wing everything—like this interview—I decided that that’s the way I should work as well.
3.) SODERBERGH: Let’s talk politics: Why did you wear your sister’s training bra? She’s still trying to get over that.
MARA: She told you that? That’s embarrassing. She was really upset when my mom brought her home a training bra. She didn’t want it, so I moseyed on over and picked it up. I was very eager to get boobs. It wasn’t until years later that the training bra would actually fit. I’ve regretted it ever since.
4.) SODERBERGH: One of the reasons I’m so creative is that my parents got divorced. What’s it like growing up in a stable household?
MARA: Really? Do you want to elaborate on that? Do you think your creativity is directly related to your parents’ divorce? And why would that be? I think that I have a pretty vivid imagination despite my stable household. Everyone’s family has their quirks. No one is perfect.
SODERBERGH: Well, for me it was a great lesson in subtext. But since you’re always playing the surface of things, I guess it wouldn’t have helped you.
5.) “MARA: But I try not to wear color. Ever.
SODERBERGH: For political reasons?
MARA: No, because it’s easier to get dressed in the morning.
Bonus confessional by Soderbergh: “I cried when Magic Mike wasn’t nominated for a People’s Choice Award.” He might not be alone on that one.