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'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's' Rooney Mara Softens Up for Vogue Cover

The star of David Fincher's upcoming thriller posed for Vogue's November issue.

Vogue/Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott

Rooney Mara, the star of David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, is on the cover of the November Vogue with a fascinating profile by Jonathan Van Meter. Perfect timing to publicize her much-anticipated film (as if it needed more hype) that opens Dec. 21.

Van Meter notes that Mara landed the part of Lisbeth Salander which is "arguably one of the most coveted roles for an actress since Gone with the Wind, also a shrewd complicated difficult to love heroine capable of slaying a man."

The role is certainly the most career-making or breaking.

VIDEO: The Girl With The Dragon Tatto's Daniel Craig: Rooney Mara is Spot-On as Lisbeth Salander

Fans of Steig Larsson's books and of the original film starring Noomi Rapace are going to be watching very carefully to see if Mara's performance meets or beats Rapace's. In Vogue, Fincher admits that he knows he's walking in other people's footprints. But he explains, “I am a contrarian by nature, so all it does is make me want to take real risks. I am like, ‘If we are not out on the ledge juggling chain saws, then we are doing ourselves a huge disservice.’ ”

The writer cannot help but notice the mentor-student electricity between Mara and Fincher, who also worked together on The Social Network (she was on the set for only four days). Daniel Craig, who plays crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist, has also noticed their eerily insync working relationship and says, “It’s f---ing weird!”

Fincher tells Vogue that initially considered Scarlett Johansson for the role. He says she gave a great audition but he didn't cast her because "The thing with Scarlett is, you can’t wait for her to take her clothes off. I keep trying to explain this, Salander should be like E.T."

PHOTOS: 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo': Images of Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara

No question that Rooney's Salander is otherworldly looking. There's also no question that Mara will be this award season's best 'Get' for designers. Vogue has dressed her in some elegant gowns (Marchesa, Vera Wang, Calvin Klein, Bottega Veneta) that soften up her E.T.esque Salander look. But will she bring the punky Salander stye on the award season red carpets to help promote the film? Or downplay it to hammer home the transformation and her acting abilities?

Mara's Elisbeth Salandar makeup was done by Pat McGrath and costumes were created by Trish Summerville. Rocker hairstylist D'Anilo cut her hair, shaved the sides, bleached her eyebrows and dyed her hair black. All in one sitting. Mara admits the brows were the biggest shock. Much as they were for Saorise Ronan, who had to have hers bleached for her role in Hanna last year and told FASHTrack, "I was walking around Berlin feeling like I had no face."

View more photos and read more about Mara, Fincher and the film here.

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