I really like David Fincher and his movies, hearing that he did this to Rooney Mara in preparation for her performance in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo really kind of freaks me out:
She followed every one of Fincher’s strange directives from day one. According to the story, “[Mara] mentions a time Fincher said, ‘Go out and get really, really drunk and come in the next morning so we can take pictures of you.’ He wanted to show Sony that she could look strung out. ‘And I did it!’ says Mara. ‘Threw up all night!’” That set the tone for their relationship, which Craig characterized as “f—ing weird!” During one dinner during filming, Fincher tells Mara “with quiet seriousness, ‘You can eat.’… Mara rolls her eyes, and Fincher laughs. ‘You can have lettuce and a grape. A raisin if you must.’ She orders a piece of fish and barely touches it.”
She’s said that she didn’t have to get unhealthily skinny for the role, and Fincher, who of course asked her to do these things, said it wasn’t “too hard for her” to obey his regimen. Which, you know, maybe is the case. People have the right to put themselves through extremely intense things for roles — Michael Fassbender dropped a ton of weight for Hunger, as did Christian Bale for The Machinist — even if they’re unhealthy, and even if it makes me uncomfortable. I can’t imagine having a job with an incentive system where the chance to work with any individual person is worth subsisting on grapes or drinking myself sick, and I’m glad I can’t. I wonder if Fincher put Robert Downey Jr. through a lot to prove he could play his role in Zodiac or if he just trusted that Downey could play an addict.
But maybe the scariest thing about all of this is the fact that Mara, who looks incredibly pale and tiny on the Vogue cover that tells us all of this, and who would look very skinny to any normal human being, including, say, a crusading left-wing journalist, isn’t actually considered to be sufficiently skinny to play a waifish hacker. We’re really defining extremely skinny down to the smallest category we can find. And by extension, labeling a lot of weights that take tremendous work and control to achieve, as “normal,” or even big.