5 Facts About Kate Mara, Rooney Mara’s Less-Famous Sister

5 facts about Kate MaraYesterday Kate Mara was announced as the lead for Netflix’s first scripted series House of Cards, a political thriller whose pilot is being directed by David Fincher. You might think that Kate nabbed the role through nepotism since her younger sister Rooney Mara just spent the last year working with Fincher on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but you might be surprised to hear that Kate is an accomplished actress by her own right.

In fact, she’s become one of those actresses you recognize by face but not by name, on series like Everwood, Jack & Bobby, and Nip/Tuck as well as movies like happythankyoumoreplease and 127 Hours.

1. On September 11, 2001, Kate was on a flight out of New York City to Los Angeles. They had to land in Kansas City when news reached them that the World Trade Center had been attacked. As she was living in Manhattan at the time, she said, “my family couldn’t get through to me and they were completely freaking out, wondering whether I was on one of the planes that crashed.”

2. She may seem sweet, especially compared to her leather-clad sibling, but Kate has played some pretty dark roles. Most recently she had a recurring role on FX’s American Horror Story as Hayden McClaine, the girl that Dylan McDermott‘s character slept with and who’s now a vengeful ghost haunting their house. Series creator Ryan Murphy actually wrote the role for her after she did a few episodes of Nip/Tuck season 1 as bisexual cheerleader Vanessa.

“She’s kind of fearless, Kate,” he said; after working with him on two series, it’s clear that she has an appreciation for the twisted. This behind-the-scenes video from Ryan’s Elle shoot with Kate and others is fun; skip to about 2 minutes in to watch her nonchalantly chat with the interviewer while covered in fake blood.

3. She gets the perceived rivalry with her younger sister Rooney, who snagged the two roles to catapult her into stardom — Erica Albright in The Social Network and Lisbeth Salander in Dragon Tattoo – while Kate is still working in the indie world. However, Kate says that there’s no resentment: ”She and I have never had that sort of competitive thing, thank God, because that would make it so much more difficult. It’s definitely tricky; we’re so close in age and we’ve been up for the same roles, but the positive side is so much greater. We’re supportive and excited for each other.”

4. She was in consideration for the role of Selina Kyle/Catwoman in Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight Rises, but the role went to Anne Hathaway instead. (Six degrees: Anne and Rooney are both alums from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, albeit five years apart.)

5. In House of Cards, Kate plays Washington, D.C. reporter Zoe Barnes. Desperate for a scoop, she makes a deal with Kevin Spacey‘s character Frank Underwood; he’s a representative who gets passed over for Secretary of State and decides he wants to overthrow the new President. One of Kate’s first big breaks was on the teenager-who-becomes-President WB drama Jack & Bobby.

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    • Amy

      Thanks, I LOVE Kate Mara! She was in some bigger movies a few years ago too: “We Are Marshall” and “Shooter.” Hopefully she’ll continue to receive more uccess

    • Ry

      re: #4

      One degree of separation: Kate played the daughter of Heather Ledger and Michelle Williams in Brokeback Mountain, which Anne was also in.

    • Pingback: There’s more to Kate Mara than just being Rooney’s sister. | Celebrity Mess()

    • John

      Whoah… other way around. Rooney Mara is the one that just broke out. Kate Mara has been around for awhile and everyone knows her better than Rooney.

      • James

        Kinda shows you how stupid and uneducated the writers are crushable are. I guess the concept of research is foreign to these simpletons.

    • Crushable sucks

      Who ever wrote this is an idiot and a moron. Kate mara has been around for a while and has long since been an accomplished actress. Anyone who has watched nip tuck and seen general movies knows that she has accomplished more than her sister in terms of theatrical productions. A successful tv series, a ton of indie films working with mark walberg and even in iron man 2? If anything kate mara is a bigger name than her sister. Whoever wrote this must suffer from brain damage. Then again it’s a known fact that the writers on this site are generally mentally inept.

      • danny

        She was only in shows like nip/tuck and entourage for a handful of episodes as a side character, and wasn’t even a named character on Iron Man 2. She hasn’t had any starring roles, basically a female “That Guy” you always see in bit parts. I certainly never knew her actual name until after Rooney.

      • Crushable Sucks

        “She was only in shows like nip/tuck and entourage for a handful of episodes as a side character, and wasn’t even a named character on Iron Man 2.”

        Actually she’s pretty big in the indie movie scene. She’s done a LOT of films and had staring rolls with actors like Woddy Harrelson, Justin Timberlake, Jeff Bridges, Charlie Cox, oh yeah Shooter and Transsiberian are also pretty big sized theatrical releases where she was the female lead. So yeah you suck at common sense.

        “She hasn’t had any starring roles, basically a female “That Guy” you always see in bit parts.”
        Except for Shooter, Transsiberian, The Open Road, Stone OF Destiny Yeah it really does HELP to actually DO your research you know? These aren’t SMALL titles oh mentally inept one.

        “I certainly never knew her actual name until after Rooney.”
        Well yeah thats because you’re an idiot Danny. It’s a known fact that the idiots on this site and the morons who support this site don’t bother with things like RESEARCH or what not. So yeah… I don’t expect you to see any thing outside of your narrow deluded mind.
        Anything else you wanna share Danny boy?

      • @danny

        Anyone who is familar with the indie movie scenes know’s Kate Mara’s name. Hell to this day Rooney Mara is pretty much unknown compared to her sister. You must be an idiot.

    • Miss Common Sense

      If you’ve been following the indie movie racket, you would KNOW Kate Mara’s name. Hell if anytong Rooney Mara is pretty much unknown to her. Even AFTER GWTDT came out all she is known for is that girl who butchered Noomi Rapace’s iconic role. Are you guys morons or something? Wait…don’t answer that.