Rooney Mara will soon be seen in one of this year's most highly anticipated movies, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," and the 26-year-old actress says nabbing the coveted role of Lisbeth Salander -- through over two months of auditioning -- was nearly as tough as the anti-heroine she fought to play.
"I was just super frustrated. I was like, 'You have to decide. Either you think I'm the girl or you don't. There's not much more I can do to prove it to you,'" Rooney told Entertainment Weekly, of her final meeting with director David Fincher before learning she had clinched the title role. "I went in there sort of ready to fight. I was pissed.
"But David sat me down and gave me this long speech about the part. Then he handed me his iPad, and it had the press release on it," she continued. "He said, 'I'm prepared to send this out. You have half an hour to let me know if you want the part.'"
Once the casting battle was won, Rooney, who previously worked with David on "The Social Network," moved on to the next challenge - filming often shockingly violent scenes for the film (based on the first novel of author Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy), especially the notoriously disturbing rape act.
"It was incredibly intense. We did it all in a week -- the week of Valentine's Day, oddly enough," she told the mag of the pivotal scene. "We were working 16 hours a day, and it was really, really challenging, not just emotionally but physically. But it's such an important scene. We wanted to do everything we could to get that right."
As previously reported on AccessHollywood.com, Daniel Craig, who stars alongside Rooney as investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist in the upcoming American version of the film, cautioned that the movie will not hold back when it comes to Larsson's acutely graphic scenes.
"I was shocked by [the violence] -- and I literally have seen [only] minutes of the movie," Daniel told Access Hollywood of his surprise at the level of brutality that was transferred from the best-selling book to the film, at the junket for "Cowboys & Aliens" in Montana last month.
"But in the books, if you read the books, there's this sort of implicit violence that's going through them all the time that makes you turn the page because you're not ever sure what's going to happen next. And it's in the movie.
"It's there," he added, emphatically.
"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," which also stars Christopher Plummer, Robin Wright, Joely Richardson and Stellan Skarsgard, is slated to hit theaters on December 21.
Copyright 2011 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.