“Transsiberian” star Kate Mara could not wait to appear in the film. Although, appearing in a Brad Anderson film can pose its challenges. The filmmaker behind Christian Bale’s frightening metamorphosis in “The Machinist” has a completely different type of film for audiences opening today. Anderson has crafted “Transsiberian,” starring Woody Harrelson, Emily Mortimer, Kate Mara and Oscar-winner Ben Kingsley.
Kate Mara spoke with SheKnows this week about her own personal thrills making the picture, the actor’s career she most would like to emulate and how the filming was as cold as those previews appear.
Mara last starred opposite Mark Wahlberg in “Shooter,” and her “Transsiberian” is entering summer movie waters that are proving thus far to be the most profitable in history. The film’s trailers have been everywhere with its ability to weave character development and thrills. To think that is the beginning.
Transsiberian tells the story of a couple, Harrelson and Mortimer, on a China to Moscow train journey embroiled in the Agatha Christie realm of deception and murder. Not helping things are a pair of strangers portrayed by Eduardo Noriega and Mara.
SheKnows found Mara refreshingly modest. For an actress who appeared opposite Mark Wahlberg in “Shooter,” is about to open in a tent pole summer movie that has its studio, First Look, seeing success, she could easily have played the Diva.
Mara is the real deal, as humble as she is talented.
Mara’s movie moment
SheKnows: “Transsiberian” sounds like quite the thriller. For you as an actress, keeping that intensity, is it a particular challenge versus other genres?
Kate Mara: For me, it’s hard to put this film into one thing. It’s definitely is a thriller. When it finishes, you feel as you do when you walk out of a thriller. But, the first hour is really more of a character study. For my character in particular, except for that one insane scene, I can’t say too much about it, but there’s one scene that is a little bit thrilling. Besides that scene, my others are more quiet and is about connecting with the other characters. It’s a little different for me than say Emily Mortimer or Woody (Harrelson). For me the challenge was playing a character who doesn’t really say much. All of her moments are about the quiet and stillness. You have to make sure you’re not just sitting there, you know (laughs). That was the challenging part for me why I liked this film from the beginning.
SheKnows: the script, from Brad and Will, when you first got it, was it a case of ‘I need to be in this movie?’
Kate Mara: First of all when I knew it was a Brad Anderson film, I respect as a filmmaker because all of his movies are so completely different. You can’t compare “The Machinist” to “Transsiberian” to any of his films. They are all so different. You wouldn’t necessarily know they were made by the same guy, which I love. That’s the kind of actor I want to be. When I read the script, I thought it was a really cool thing and really different for me. I’ve never done anything like it. I love how the story ends up. And of course, the moment I found out about the cast, it’s a great. Brad got such a cool cast together for it. I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of it.
Stranger in a strange land
SheKnows: Where was a majority of the scenes filmed? I’m guessing not Russia, although it sure looks it.
Kate Mara: We filmed in Lithuania.
SheKnows: How is that as an actress to be in quite a foreign land?
Kara Mara: It was really challenging. I love being able to go to different countries and shoot films there. That was the biggest challenge for me in Lithuania. It was the dead of winter. It felt like it was dark all day. It was freezing cold. But, you know, looking back, it really helped mentally prepare. My character’s supposed to be, she’s not supposed to be comfortable. She’s on a train for a long time. She doesn’t have a home and she’s backpacking. It was helpful in the end.
SheKnows: Did you do any research for this role in terms of the crossing Europe with a backpack twenty-something?
Kate Mara: No, I didn’t research anything. It didn’t make me want to go on a Transsiberian trip, but I do want to go on the one called ‘The Scotsman.’ It’s a really, really, really, nice old fashioned train. I love to experience that someday. I love traveling anyway. It would be a great thing to do. Being in Lithuania, a place I’ve never been before, I didn’t need to research. I didn’t speak the language, I was all by myself. I had time to wander the streets and it was definitely times that were really lonely and scary. That sort of thing helped with the character.
Screen time with an icon
SheKnows: Did you have the fortune of sharing scenes with Oscar winner, Ben Kingsley?
Kate Mara: Yeah, actually, but I can’t tell you what. When you see it, you’ll know. But, yes, I had a scene with him.
SheKnows: Sounds like a pivotal scene…
Kate Mara: That one scene was really…I don’t want to say, because I don’t want to give it away. I’m honored that I’m in a movie with him, but I didn’t get my fair shot. I’d really like to work with him in the future.
SheKnows: He is certainly somebody who seems to work a lot. He was in this summer’s “War, Inc.”
Kate Mara: (laughs) He is in a lot of movies.
SheKnows: As these films you’re in, as the years go by, does the anticipation as they are set to debut, such as “Transsiberian” on July 18, to you still get nerves?
Kate Mara: It’s really funny. I thought maybe they would. I have the same feeling I’ve always had. Anytime I get a movie, I get really excited about it. The first day of shooting is so exciting and always has been. That never changes for me, ever. I never get used to getting jobs. Anytime I book a movie, I’m really surprised an excited that I’m able to work and do what I love to do. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that.
SheKnows: Many an actor has told me just that.
Kate Mara: I just did a movie with Jeff Bridges and if you didn’t know who he was, you’d think it was his first film. His energy is like a little kid. I love that and I think I will always be that way as well. I’m really lucky in that way.
SheKnows: Well, what a great person to model yourself after.
Kate Mara: (laughs) I strive to be as good as him.