Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Citizen Kate. Kate Mara is hot

BREAKING: Kate Mara is hot. Okay, that’s not news to anyone who watched her chew up the screen (and Kevin Spacey) as a back-channeling, sex-favor-trading blogger on House of Cards, back this month on Netflix

Februaries are big for Kate Mara. Take last year: On an unassuming weekend in the dark heart of winter, Netflix dropped the first season of House of Cards introducing viewers to Zoe Barnes, the slickly ambitious reporter who represents the third point of Congressman Francis Underwood’s vindictive triangle offense. (The second: Underwood’s wife, played by Robin Wright.) Keeping up with Wright and Kevin Spacey is big work, and yet, not a half hour into the first episode, Zoe kisses off a date who wants an invite upstairs:  “Oh…you’re so sweet.… But if I was going to fuck you, you’d know.” The sting of that slap lasts for a season.

Mara is tall enough to ride roller coasters, but barely. She’s acted way longer than younger sister Rooney, but doesn’t seem overly impressed with either of their ascents.  She seems to consider HoC not some zenith but another hilltop in a steady career that includes Brokeback Mountain and 127 Hours. As for that run of very excellent Februaries? It dates back nine seasons, not just two. Mara is NFL royalty: Mom’s family runs the Steelers; Dad’s family runs the Giants. That’s five Super Bowl Sundays since 2006. “We dressed up for Giants games like we were dressing up for church,” she says. “It’s our family business.” What about the less-than-stellar seasons both teams just had? “It was bound to happen. It’s been too amazing. Of course losing sucked.”

Just before Christmas, she picked a spot to meet near her gym in Silver Lake. She wore a black leather moto jacket over a Giants workout tee. After she ordered a smoothie with apple, kale, and lemon, a waiter tried to convince her that lemon would suck with apple and kale. “Well, it doesn’t. I mean, I get it every day. Don’t judge my smoothie.” The salt in her responses reminded me of someone else. Someone used to being called “Twitter twat.”

When do you give up on your teams?
I’m an eternal optimist.

What about when the Giants start 0-6?
Never. Besides, the Giants have a history of turning things around. Next year we could go to the Super Bowl. One of the greatest things about football is, unlike baseball, you really don’t know what’s going to happen at the start of the season.

Do you get home to New York much?
Yeah, my whole family’s still there. My dad’s mom is still very much in charge of the family. My dad’s one of eleven—I have about 50 first cousins on the Mara side.

What’s your grandma like in the owner’s box? Does she curse at players?
Oh, she would never curse. No, no, no. I mean, she’s tough. She’s a really tough lady. But she’s also very proper. So there’s no cursing.

Does the wine go a little faster in a tight fourth quarter?
I don’t think there’s any drinking involved.

No way.
I mean, if we win, or if we’ve lost, maybe people drink after the game, but, like, it’s funny, because obviously drinking is such a massive part of most people’s football-watching experience, but to me, it’s such a foreign thing. It was like going to the office. Everyone was supposed to look their best. Obviously as we got older, that kind of shifted, and now we can wear a Giants jersey. But that goes with the drinking—it just wasn’t something…

It’s business.

Sunday mornings with a one o’clock game… How early does the whip-cracking start to get everyone ready?
My mom’s always late and my dad’s always early. I’m like my dad. Obviously Tom Coughlin wasn’t our coach when I was kid, but now it’s called Coughlin Time. If you’re not there fifteen minutes early, you’re late. My dad’s ready an hour early sitting in the kitchen by the door, looking at the clock. I don’t blame him.

Do you try to get home in the fall?
During football season, I try to spend as much time in New York as possible. At first it was very strange not waking up on Sunday with my family. But then I was like, Oh, I can just get on a plane.

Some of my friends went to your high school, same time as your brother and sister. They call Rooney “Tricia.”
See, then they definitely did—they’re not lying.

When you’re with your sister, do you talk about acting or anything but acting?
Oh no, talking about acting isn’t like, “Ugh, God, we have to talk about acting, how boring!” It’s like a passion. It’s not, you know, some burden. Of course we do.

Speaking of acting: Does the new season of House of Cards turn up the dials?
I mean, the dials were really high in the first season. Beau Willimon has a very big imagination. And he and our writing staff, I think they really pulled through this season. Because it’s hard to top all the things that happened last season. Last year, before Season One came out, I had seen all the episodes; this year I haven’t, so I’m just as excited to watch it like anyone else. Still, I think it's just as surprising and addictive. Hopefully, we'll see.

Did you, like, drop in on Politico before you started filming?
I didn’t shadow anyone. Any questions I had I went to Beau. But being a journalist wasn’t the most important thing for me. That was just her job—it could be anything. The most important aspect of Zoe that I felt I needed to understand and wrap my head around was her crazy drive and ambition. Sitting around with Beau and Fincher and Kevin, just setting the backstories—that’s where I got all of my information.

When you shot Season 2, did you have to put everything else aside?
I mean, I’m sure Kevin has to, because he’s in almost every scene. But for everyone else, it’s very different. I don’t shoot every day. I actually shot Transcendence while I was shooting House of Cards. So I wasn’t even in Baltimore the whole time. I was in New Mexico.

With Johnny Depp.
We were shooting in the middle of the desert in the summer, in New Mexico, and it was 110 degrees. Outside all day in the sun and most of the guys playing the army guys were either ex-marines or had some sort of experience in the field. While I was there I read American Sniper and Lone Survivor back to back. Just because I felt so much in that world, even though our movie is not that.

Between House of Cards and Transcendence, you’re in a comfortable spot. Are you gonna move back to New York for good now?
I hope one day I’ll have a place there. But I really love being able to do both. I’m not one of those people who hates on L.A. I love it.

If you were not an actress, would you still be living in L.A.?
I don’t know how I would have come to L.A. if I wasn’t an actress.

Well, I mean, lots of people do. You couldn’t have ended up here doing something else?

You would’ve been somewhere else?
Maybe I would have visited L.A for some random reason, but the only reason I came here at nineteen was for work. And, you know, it took me a while to be happy here. So, no. I’m definitely an East Coast—I’m such a family, like, my family is so… The reason I love New York so much is because it’s where my family is. If my family was from here, then I’d probably be saying the same thing about L.A.

Sweater by T by Alexander Wang. Bikini by Eres. Heels by Alexander Wang. Oval ring by Arik Kastan at Roseark.
Blouse by Missoni. Bra by Eres. Skirt by Wayne from Barneys New York Beverly Hills.

Sweater by T by Alexander Wang. Bikini by Eres. Heels by Alexander Wang. Oval ring by Arik Kastan at Roseark.
Cardigan by Topshop. Bra and panties by Eres. Necklace by Bettina Javaheri at Roseark. Heels by Charlotte Olympia.
Sweater by T by Alexander Wang. Bikini by Eres. Heels by Alexander Wang. Oval ring by Arik Kastan at Roseark.

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