Well, she got tattooed. And pierced. And her hair dyed jet black and chopped. And handed a pack of cigarettes. All for her role in the upcoming blockbuster The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
New photos of Mara, 25, as Lisbeth Salander, the title character in Hollywood's adaptation of Stieg Larsson's best-selling novel, are set to be published in February's W magazine, on newsstands Jan. 25 – and they put to rest any doubts that Mara might not look the part.
For Mara, the transformation into a "goth Pippi Longstocking" (in the words of director David Fincher) was a sometimes painful one. "I didn't even have pierced ears," she tells W. "They put four holes in each ear, and, weirdly, that hurt the most."
For his part, Fincher praises Mara – a great-granddaughter of both Pittsburgh Steelers founder Art Rooney Sr. and New York Giants founder Tim Mara – for her work ethic.
"Rooney might be a trust-fund baby from football royalty, but she's levelheaded and hardworking," he said.
And, now, she's more than a little fierce.