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The 2010 ‘Elm Street’ remake made Rooney Mara question her acting future

Playing the final girl in the updated slasher ‘wasn't the best experience,’ the actor shared in a recent podcast.

By Benjamin Bullard
Rooney Mara

Most folks likely know Rooney Mara for her long and carefully curated acting career since she first broke through in the early 2010s with a pair of high-profile, back-to-back roles in The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. But Mara says her starring role as final girl Nancy Holbrook in the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street nearly marked her final turn in front of a camera.

Speaking recently with Rain Phoenix on the LaunchLeft podcast, Mara confessed that leading the cast of the Samuel Bayer-directed horror film “was not a great experience,” and that she even questioned her future as an actor after the movie had finished production.

“A few years before [The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo], I had done A Nightmare on Elm Street remake, which was not a great experience making it," Mara said, cautious not to divulge the specifics of how the production challenged her thinking.

“I have to be careful with what I say and how I talk about it. But it wasn't the best experience making it, and I kind of got to this place that I still live in — of, I don't want to act unless I'm doing stuff that I feel like I have to do. So I kind of, after making that film, decided, ‘Okay, well, I'm just not going to act anymore unless it's something that I feel that way about.’”

Though the Elm Street remake cut through the box office like butter, the movie (which was co-produced by Michael Bay) failed to frighten most reviewers, who generally found its more somber tone out of sync with the film’s attempt to follow the story beats of the 1984 classic slasher that inspired it. The film, which swapped longtime Freddy Krueger star Robert Englund for actor Jackie Earle Haley in the remake’s antagonist role, has since settled at a not-so-hot 14 percent “Fresh” critics’ aggregate rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

Mara, of course, ultimately didn’t let her Nightmare gig divert her acting career, putting together a productive string of subsequent turns in Spike Jonze’s Her, Pan, A Ghost Story, Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley, and a voice role in the 2016 animated fantasy movie Kubo and the Two Strings. You can currently see Mara as the titular lead of the 2016 drama Una at Peacock, where she stars alongside Ben Mendelsohn, Riz Ahmed, and Ruby Stokes.

Looking for a scary movie? Watch Day of the Dead, The Black Phone, They/Them, Prom Night, and more now streaming on Peacock

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