In our interview this week, Kate Mara described the second season of “House of Cards” and her character in it, Zoe Barnes, as never having a dull moment. The same can probably be said of her professional life right now, as she promotes the two-part mini film “After the Disco” for Broken Bells, currently shoots “Captive” in Mexico City with David Oyelowo and will soon see the result of her turn in “Transcendence” with Johnny Depp. Mara also said that “House of Cards” finished shooting about a month ago, and the second season with drop – all at once, again – “relatively soon."
Despite the space-based theme of “After the Disco,” Mara seems pretty grounded, happy and humbled by her work lately. Below, we discuss acting with Anton Yelchin, jamming to Miley Cyrus
and Cliff Martinez, “Transcendence,” technology and the color pink.
HitFix: Your spacesuit for “After the Disco” was pretty great. Did you get to keep it?
Kate Mara: I didn’t get to keep it, but what are they going to do with it, yknow? It was made specifically for my 5’2” body. It’d be a cool Halloween costume.
Is pink your color?
I hate pink, I just sometimes end up wearing it. [Broken Bells] wanted to use an image from the album cover – a lady in this outfit. It’s awesome for the video.
What made you say yes to this project?
There was no spoken conversation, it was an email I got from my agent just saying, “Do you want to do this music video with Anton Yelchin?” and I was like “Yes, I love Anton Yelchin,” and then I thought, “Oh wait, maybe I should listen to the song first…” I’ve always wanted to work with [Yelchin], and I watched [director Jacob Gentry’s] video that he did previous to this with Christina Hendricks
, which I thought it was so unique. Broken Bells’ music is so cinematic, so I thought it was a no-brainer.
Were you pretty up-to-date on their music when you said yes, with Broken Bells, or the Shins or Gnarls Barkley or anything?
I’m one of those people who loves a lot of songs but I don’t know who sings any of them.
You must’ve loved the fact that you didn’t have any dialogue.
Yeah on the first day it was just me and Anton in Malibu. [Gentry] sent me the lookbook for it, gave me the storyline and that was it. It was very improvisational, and yet it was Jacob talking to us while we were shooting.
I loved the experience. I think not having dialogue, it’s a very different challenge and yet trying to get people to understand what you’re going through.
What was your interpretation of the end of the short film, do you think it’s saying anything about aging? Is it something that resonates with Hollywood’s issues with aging?
I don’t know what the message is. I really have no f*cking idea. I do think the conversation will be an interesting one. My thoughts on [aging] will change as I get older I’m sure, but I grew up never thinking about age and being afraid of that. I credit my mom and my family -- I’ve never heard her say, “Oh my gosh, I’m turning this age…” as a bad thing. If you’re not aging, then there’s a problem!
Hollywood obviously brings a very different energy about it, and if you’re an actress, you have to see yourself very close up and if you’re getting older then it’s a little more challenging than another job where people aren’t constantly scrutinizing your face. There’s a lot of beauty in aging. I’m only 30, but I know that I feel much, much better about myself today than I did when I was younger. I’d much rather be me now than a year ago, or 5 years ago, or 10 years ago.
Lucky you. You’re never gonna age!
What’s your jam, what do you listen to when you get up in the morning or that you sing in the shower?
Right now I’m shooting a movie [“Captive”]. My music is really different when I’m working than when I’m not. Same thing goes for what I wear every day. I’m in Mexico.City and it’s a very dark film, so I listen to music that is of that tone and keeps me in the mood -- a lot of scores rather than songs with lyrics. I listen to Cliff Martinez on my way to work, all the way.
But before I started this, I was listening to Miley Cyrus, so there you go!
"Bangerz!" Do you just listen to the singles or her whole album?
Oh my gosh. I love the album.
When you were shooting House of Cards, what did you listen to then?
When you’re shooting for 7 months, there’s not just one thing. Beau Willimon has some amazing, random musical taste. He introduced me to Galactic and [Immaculate Noise favorite] Laura Marling
. And now I’m completely obsessed with Laura Marling.
I loved your character at the end of season one, because she started so green and then by the end she was so, so fierce. What can we expect at all about your character arc in season 2?
I really can’t say much because it comes out relatively soon, and because it’s all released on the same day, you really really can’t say anything. But yeah, that was one of the things in Season One and in Season Two, that [Zoe’s] not static, she really grows a lot. Her morals are constantly – you question what she’s really gonna do. And that continues on in the second season. It’s never a boring moment.
How does “Transcendence” compare to your other recent projects, what is your character Bree like?
I can’t really say much, they released a little logline about what the movie’s about. I can tell you that Bree is someone who’s against the technology taking over our world. That was really fun to play and research different organizations that are very much against that and watching some documentaries.
There’s a doc that our director told me to watch, “If a Tree Falls” its about the Earth Liberation Front, the ELF organization. It was a really well made documentary. I base a lot of my character on people in that.
Are you at all a tech person, are you into gadgets?
I am not clever at all or “with it” when it comes to technology. I just listen to what my boyfriend tells me, like, “You need to buy the new iPhone.” I just follow what the cool kids are doing. Otherwise I’d be happy with my Blackberry and all would be well. I’m a follower, I’m not a leader when it comes to technology.