Kate Rooney Mara ( born February 27, 1983) is an American actress.
She is known for her roles as ill-fated reporter Zoe Barnes in the Netflix political drama House of Cards (2013–2014; 2016), computer analyst Shari Rothenberg in the Fox thriller series 24 (2006) and Ben Harmon’s vengeful mistress Hayden McClaine in the FX horror miniseries American Horror Story: Murder House (2011).
She made her film debut in 1999 with Random Hearts. She has since appeared in Brokeback Mountain (2005), We Are Marshall (2006), Shooter (2007), Transsiberian (2008), Stone of Destiny (2008), The Open Road (2009), Transcendence (2014), The Martian (2015), Fantastic Four (2015), Morgan (2016), Megan Leavey (2017) and Chappaquiddick (2018), portraying Mary Jo Kopechne.
Mara made her film debut in Random Hearts, with Harrison Ford in 1999, directed by Sydney Pollack. She played Jessica Chandler, the daughter of a congresswoman (Kristin Scott Thomas). She next appeared in the Sundance Film Festival award-winning films Joe the King (1999) and Tadpole (2002), alongside Sigourney Weaver. Mara co-starred in Peoples (2004), a drama and coming of age story filmed in Louisville, Kentucky. She starred in the direct-to-video horror film Urban Legends: Bloody Mary and appeared with Noah Wyle and Illeana Douglas in the 2005 film The Californians. Her supporting role as the daughter of Heath Ledger’s character in the Academy Award-winning film Brokeback Mountain that year brought her more widespread critical notice.
Mara starred in the 2008 film Stone of Destiny, written and directed by Charles Martin Smith, about the theft of the Stone of Scone on Christmas Day, 1950. Mara played Kay Matheson, one of four students that removed the stone in a Scottish nationalist plot. The period adventure-comedy co-starred Billy Boyd, Robert Carlyle and Charlie Cox. Filming began in June 2007 in locations around Glasgow. Mara felt lucky and proud to play a role that was important to people’s heritage. She stayed near the Botanic Gardens in the city’s West End while filming, attending the film premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on June 21, 2008. The film closed the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival on September 13, 2008. In December 2008, Mara appeared in T Takes: Brooklyn 09, a series of 6 improvised short films directed by Brody Baker. She starred in The Open Road as Lucy. Filming began in Hammond, Louisiana in February 2008, and continued in Memphis, Tennessee and elsewhere in the South. In 2009, Mara filmed the independent comedy Peep World, starring Michael C. Hall, Sarah Silverman and Rainn Wilson, and joined the cast of Marvel’s Iron Man 2, making a cameo appearance as a U.S. Marshal who serves Tony Stark a subpoena. Mara shot the ensemble romantic comedy happythankyoumoreplease in New York City in July 2009. She plays a waitress and aspiring singer named Mississippi, in a story about six single New Yorkers in their 20s. The film was written and directed by actor Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother). The film won the U.S. Dramatic Audience Award at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. In 2010, Mara played hiker Kristi Moore in the survival drama 127 Hours, a true story directed by Danny Boyle about Aron Ralston, a climber trapped while mountaineering in Utah. Mara appeared in Ironclad (2011), which tells the story of the siege of Rochester Castle by King John in the year 1215. It is her first film where she speaks in an English accent. Mara appeared in the short film Ten Year, produced by Channing Tatum to attract financing for a feature film. The full-length feature went into production in Albuquerque in January 2010, with Mara starring in a large ensemble cast film about a 10-year high school reunion. In 2012, Mara starred in Stefan Ruzowitzky’s thriller Deadfall with Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde. In 2013, Mara starred in Broken Bells video for the song Holding On For Life. Mara appeared in Transcendence (2014), starring Johnny Depp and directed by Wally Pfister. In 2015, she played the Invisible Woman in a new film version of the Fantastic Four. In that year, she also had a supporting role as astronaut Beth Johanssen in director Ridley Scott’s film The Martian. She also starred as Ashley Smith in the 2015 movie Captive. In 2017, Mara starred in Megan Leavey, playing Megan Leavey, a real life U.S. marine who bonded with her military working dog. The film was directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, and released on June 9, 2017. She also starred alongside Ellen Page in My Days of Mercy, which she co-produced.