'Carol's' Rooney Mara to Portray Mary Magdalene of Magdala in Biblical Biopic

By Rudy Cecera (rudy.cecera@mstarsnews.com) | Feb 03, 2016 12:20 PM EST
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Rooney Mara is in talks to portray the bible's infamous Mary Magdalene. The 30-year-old Pan actress has a history of playing interesting women. She is currently nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her emotional performance as lesbian Therese Belivet in Carol, opposite Cate Blanchett. In addition, her previous Oscar nomination came for the iconic and gothic Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

 

It's being reported that the currently untitled Magdalene project will be directed by Garth Davis, who recently worked with Mara on the yet to be released Lion, which also stars Oscar winner Nicole Kidman. In a recent interview with Deadline, Davis claimed "Rooney's raw, brave approach to performances, coupled with her deeply magnetic inner life, holds all the dimensions needed to bring to life one of history's most misunderstood woman. Having worked with Rooney on Lion, I know she is a once in a lifetime talent."

The real Mary Magdalene was a follower of Jesus who witnessed both his crucifixion and resurrection. She has previously been portrayed by Anne Bancroft in the 1977 TV movie Jesus of Nazareth. She was then played on the big screen by Barbara Hershey in Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ, which included a controversial love scene with Jesus. Actress Monica Bellucci also played her in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. However, these previous depictions were all in supporting parts, which would make Mara the first actress to play her in a leading role.

Mara is known for taking artistic risks and was recently awarded the Cinema Vanguard Award at the 31st Santa Barbara Film Festival. Her upcoming biblical biopic will be produced by the same team behind the Oscar winning The King's Speech. It is set to begin production next summer for a 2017 release.

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