Rooney Mara changed her voice in ‘Carol’ to sound less ‘jaded and ironic’

Rooney Mara plays a young woman experiencing a romantic rebirth in “Carol,” the new Todd Haynes movie starring Cate Blanchett as a wise, sexually empowered woman dealing with the constraints of conservative America and a failing marriage in the 1950s. Blanchett and Mara's characters find themselves in a romance, which has consequences to the loved ones in their lives — namely the men. 

But as we discovered in our interview with Mara, she's not much like the melancholic cashier we see her play in the movie. That's not even the voice she normally speaks with.

“The way we speak in general in this day and age is very jaded and ironic. We don't really use a lot of air. Everything's sort of closed off,” she said. “My voice sounds very modern right now. I worked with a woman, and Todd and I listened to a lot of different things to figure out how we wanted [her character Therese] to sound.” 

In fact, her real-life tastes tend to be more comic than dramatic.

“'Bridesmaids' was just on the other night and I can always watch that,” she said, identifying Kristen Wiig's character Annie as the bridesmaid she most loves. “When she freaks out and throws the cookie on the floor at the party, I love that.” 

Even when picking her favorite Cate Blanchett films, she first selects one of the more absurd films in her oeuvre: “Notes on a Scandal.”

Fortunately, she did relate to her character in “Carol” in one major way: She was sincerely captivated with Cate Blanchett. 

“She made that very easy,” Mara said.

We also discussed the movie's exquisite costumes, the joy of “The Life Aquatic,” and why Mara is always ready to watch “Paper Moon” again.

“Carol” opens in a limited release November 20.