I’ve been lucky because I’m not famous.” These are not the words one expects to hear from the mouth of an actress, especially one who has just flown home from the Utah set of Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle’s latest feature film, 127 Hours, co-starring James Franco.
Kate Mara doesn’t want to be famous. Kate Mara wants to act. And if you think she is already famous, well, she doesn’t believe you. Forget how she made Vogue’s best dressed list, or seeing her pinup spread when inducted into Vanity Fair’s “Vanities” club of rising stars, and don’t mind that Esquire turns to her for expert football advice (her family owns the New York Giants and the Pittsburgh Steelers) when not profiling her for the magazine — Kate Mara is “not famous.”
“When people recognize me, they usually don’t recognize me, they think I’m somebody else,” the actress laughs. “They think I’m Isla Fisher, or somebody totally random, and it’s very funny to me.” While simple enough to dispute Mara’s case, one cannot but admire the actress’s anti-aspiration. “The people whose careers I really admire are the ones who have this mystery about them, and you really don’t know about their lives,” she comments. “It makes it easier for you to perform if people don’t know you as a celebrity, they just know you as an actor.”
Mara’s 127 Hours co-star is likely to agree. Franco’s stint on ABC’s General Hospital, as drifter performance artist Franco, was an acting experiment based on this very observation. “I find it fascinating that he did that,” says Mara. “It actually makes him that much cooler.”
When she signed onto 127 Hours — the story of a mountain climbing expedition gone awry — Mara was as thrilled to be working with Franco as she was Boyle. “He’s one of those guys who, if you’re in the business, you know that he has that crazy talent,” she says of the actor. The director, too, lived up to his reputation in the industry. “He’s everything that you want him to be,” says Mara. “A lot of times when you look up to a director and fantasize about what it would be like to have the chance to work with them, and then you meet them, and either it’s a little too intimidating or it’s just not quite what your mind thought it would be, but with him it makes so much sense why he’s been so successful. He has such an incredible energy and enthusiasm about him, it’s just sort of infectious.”
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