Rooney Mara joins Cate Blanchett in Todd Hayne’s Carol

cate rooney

Rooney Mara has signed on to co-star opposite Cate Blanchett in Todd Haynes’ Carol, adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novella, The Price of Salt — a tale some have incorrectly assumed is a suspense thriller. It’s not. It’s a bold romance with a tense road-trip that outdoes Thelma and Louise.

From a review in Slate (a link that you shouldn’t read in its entirety unless you want to know too much):

Highsmith’s novel preserved the trashy, sexy feel of the pulps but combined it with a grown-up love story that turned the tables. When the novel opens, Therese Belivet is working as a temporary sales clerk at Christmas in the toy department of a large New York department store… Without really intending to, she has managed to acquire a self-absorbed suitor named Richard whose lumpish sexual overtures leave her dismayed. (Highsmith is surely the first major writer to capture from deep inside that mysteriously appalled, don’t-want-to feeling many budding lesbians experience while attempting—for form’s sake—to make it with a guy. “It made her feel self-conscious and foolish, as if she stood embracing the stem of a tree.”)

Things heat up dramatically when an unknown woman in furs — blond, 30ish, and as cool and laconic as Barbara Stanwyck in Walk on the Wild Side — visits the Frankenberg’s toy department in search of a doll. For reasons she can’t yet understand, Therese is instantly, tumultuously, attracted to her. (“Her eyes were gray, colorless, yet dominant as light or fire, and caught by them, Therese could not look away.”)

And yada yada yada, until…

“Everything finally breaks open — shudderingly, voluptuously, breathtakingly, in a tacky little hotel in Waterloo, Iowa… Fab, of course — but what makes the book an exquisite, gobsmacking, pussy-tingling treat is the fact that Highsmith, closeted or not, never loses her nerve.”

THR has the production details:

Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley are producing Carol for Number 9 Films, with Christine Vachon’s Killer Films co-producing. Shooting is set to begin in spring 2014. U.K. broadcaster Channel 4′s Film4 is a co-financier and co-developer on Carol.

“We’re over the moon to have Rooney on board,” said Haynes. “I’ve been a tremendous admirer of her work from the beginning, so the thought of bringing her together with Cate onscreen is thrilling to say the least.”

Added Karlsen: “Rooney Mara is one of the most interesting and striking young talents working today. There are few actors who have the weight to play against someone with the extraordinary distinction and mercurial range of Cate Blanchett, and she is one of them. The combination of them both is something potentially sensational.”

HanWay Films is handling international sales on Carol and has presold the film to multiple territories, including to The Weinstein Company for the U.S., Entertainment One in Canada, TF1 in France and Icon in Australia.

The film marks Haynes’ return to the big screen after his excursions into TV, which included the Golden Globe-winning miniseries Mildred Pierce with Kate Winslet.

Did somebody say the story is “a pussy-tingling treat”?

16 Comment

  1. Tentpole alert! Hopefully, resulting in a happy ending ;)

  2. “(a link that you shouldn’t read in its entirety unless you want to know too much)”

    Thanks (again), Ryan.

    I don’t understand why some people (critics) seem not be able to control their urge to reveal more than it should be told, all the more so at our cost…. : (

    “It’s a bold romance with a tense road-trip that outdoes Thelma and Louise.”

    Enjoyed Thelma and Louise. I don’t believe there would be any female couple in films who could possibly outdo Sarandon and Davis’ Thelma and Louise…. At least, not in the silver-screen version…. So, I am looking forward to it.

  3. Wasn’t Mia Wasikowksa attached to star in this?

  4. two gorgeous women :)

    Cate Blanchett’s career will officially be in a league of its own in a couple of years from now.

  5. The New Meryl? Or even bigger than Meryl?

    And don’t forget about Kate Winslet. Kate is 6 years younger than Cate but already has 2 more Oscar noms.

  6. greatness is not measured in Oscar noms, Christophe :)

    Kidman, for example, has only 3 but has a far more impressive career than Winslet. In that train of thought, I’m not even going to mention Tilda Swinton (only 1 nom).

    Winslet is nowhere near as adventurous as Kidman, Blanchett and Swinton.

    And in terms of DIRECTORS it is Blanchett who rules the Universe.
    Also in terms of Cinematic and Theatrical excellence.

  7. and for the record, Winslet has 6 Oscar noms, Blanchett has 5, so the difference is 1, not 2 :)

  8. Sorry, but you’re wong. Winslet has 6 Oscar nominations, Blanchett 5.

  9. Practically did a back-flip when I saw this announcement yesterday.

    Haynes is the best director out there for female actors, and he’s got solid gold to work with here.

  10. 5 indeed – I misread IMDB since she was nominated twice in the same year in 2007/08, but she’s still older than Kate and there’s not much she can do about it…

  11. I hope Carol is gonna be a dark lesbo drama which I rather prefer than a lighter one with the naiv and confused looking Mia. They are both great young actresses but Mara has an edge over her

    Blanchett / Mara / Haynes / lesbo drama = me happy

    The day Winslet stop playing long suffering wife over and over again, I may consider her one of the greatest. Winslet needs to really challenge herself like Kidman, Blanchett and Swinton do

    ” If I know how to do it, I cant do it because the final result will not be that great. If the role is an impossible task, with a huge risk of failure, I take it. The electricity in the performance is necessary for achieving and lifting the material to a higher level” Blanchett has said in several interviews over the last decade

  12. My inner voice tells me she doesn’t care about it and neither do I.

    I’ve already mentioned what makes her far more interesting to me than Winslet.

    I’m curious who’ll end up winning more Oscars though. Something tells me it’ll be Blanchett.

    Alternatively, by the age of 38 (Winslet’s current age) Blanchett had 5 nominations and then completely focused on theater, did genius work which Woody Allen and Terrence Malick saw and led to projects with them.

    And when it comes to Winslet’s personal gap between her 2008 Oscar win and now, 2013, she pretty much didn’t produce anything substantial apart from Mildred Pierce, and there was no theater either.

  13. But…Kate only played the long suffering wife only once (Revolutionary Road). Kate Winselt is the last person I would accuse of not challenging herself.

  14. Whatever! Why should she be judged for taking a much needed family break? For all I know, she could’ve retired right after Titanic and she’d still have left her mark on Film history, one of the finest and most glamorous actresses ever.

    Now, I’m going to retire too and enjoy what’s left of summer, reading some Shakespeare in my backyard and watching the fighter-jet planes headed for Syria. La belle vie!

  15. Kate plays a lot of housewives though. Little Children and Revolutionary Road are her most famous. In Labor Day she is a divorced housewife. In Titanic she is a would-be housewife. In Finding Neverland, she is a widowed housewife. In Mildred Pierce she is a separated housewife.

  16. If now only Julianne Moore would get cate Blanchett’s part, everything would be perfect. A Moore-Haynes-reunion is just really necessary right now.

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