Rooney Mara Replaces Mia Wasikowska In Todd Haynes' Lesbian Romance Carol

Mia Wasikowska and Rooney Mara rank as two of our most talented young actresses working today, choosing interesting projects with fascinating directors like David Fincher (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network), Steven Soderbergh (Side Effects), Cary Fukunaga (Jane Eyre) and Chan-Wook Park (Stoker). At some point in the near future, we’d love to see them collaborate on a film together, but for the time being, one will simply replace the other in a movie we’re eagerly anticipating.

ScreenDaily reports that Mara has replaced Wasikowska in Todd Haynes’ Carol, which he plans to start filming in Spring 2014. The movie is based on Patricia Highsmith’s lesbian love story. It was published in 1952 (under Highsmith’s pseudonym, Claire Morgan), and often goes by the rival title, The Price of Salt.

Says Haynes on the casting switch:

“We’re over the moon to have Rooney on board. I’ve been a tremendous admirer of her work from the beginning, so the thought of bringing her together with Cate onscreen is thrilling to say the least.”

The “Cate” he’s referencing is Cate Blanchett, who was cast in the film earlier this year. Blanchett will play a frustrated wife trapped in a loveless marriage who enters a dangerous, intimate relationship with a twentysomething department store clerk (Mara). The story will be set in the 1950s, an era that Haynes previously explored in the outstanding Far From Heaven:

And Blanchett has a connection with Highsmith, having acted in Anthony Minghella’s brilliant, subversive The Talented Mr. Ripley … also set in the ‘50s. Are you sensing a theme here? Perhaps those two films give us an idea of the tone and style we might expect from Carol.

Haynes hasn’t done a feature film since 2007’s experimental Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There, though he did stay very busy with Kate Winslet working on the HBO mini-series Mildred Pierce. Pairing him with Blanchett and Wasikowska would have been a thrill, but Mara has been proving herself extremely worthy with stellar performances in Dragon Tattoo and the recent Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. (Our own Eric Eisenberg raved about her turn in his review.) I might not have been excited about this news after Mara’s Nightmare On Elm Street reboot, but after a string of great performances, we now know she can hold her own opposite Blanchett, and I’m excited to see what Haynes can do with this material.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.