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Kate Mara on the Rooney Mara rivalry, 'American Horror Story'

December 19, 2011 |  9:40 am

Kate Mara is the sister of Rooney Mara

With the season finale of "American Horror Story" -- the completely delirious, oversexed and terrifying effort from "Glee" guy Ryan Murphy -- coming Wednesday, we hunted down feature player Kate Mara, older sister of "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" star Rooney Mara, for a little chat.

Fiery redhead Mara plays Hayden McClaine, the young and dead mistress of Dylan McDermott's Dr. Ben Harmon. Hayden's spirit is stuck in the Harmon house (arguably the show's main character) and she's not the happiest camper -- prone to fits of insane rage and violence, though not to much consequence, given she's, you know, not alive.

We caught up with Kate to discuss life on such a hot, dark show, and to check in on the sibling-rivalry thing with Rooney and her crush of fame with "Dragon Tattoo" -- which opens as "AHS" wraps up.

Ministry of Gossip: How did Hayden come to you? Did you know what you were in for?

Kate Mara: Ryan Murphy actually gave me my first job, or one of them, when I was 19. It was five episodes on "Nip/Tuck." So he sent this over. I was under the impression I was doing only three episodes, so I was thrilled as I kept getting scripts.

MoG: Hayden becomes a much different character by the end of the season -- mostly a massive rage case. How do you ramp up to that?

KM: I just scream all day at poor Dylan. People ask a lot, "Does it feel good?" and really, it's exhausting. But I feel lucky I don't personally have that much pent-up rage inside me, and [Hayden] is constant. There's a great scene when we first see her after she's dead, she spits out her teeth and screams "I matter!" I go to that place and play it as honest as possible. 

MoG: Hayden's pretty moralizing given she's the other woman. With Ben Harmon's philandering, the show seems to be a PSA for staying faithful.

KM: His infidelity is the reason the show exists, the reason he and his family moved into that house.

MoG: Speaking of family, your sister Rooney is having a banner year with "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." As sisters and actresses, is there any rivalry there?

KM: She and I have never had that sort of competitive thing, thank God, because that would make it so much more difficult. It's definitely tricky; we're so close in age and we've been up for the same roles, but the positive side is so much greater.

"We're supportive and excited for each other."


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Golden Globes: 'Dragon Tattoo's' Rooney Mara on her nomination, fan expectations

-- Matt Donnelly

Photo: Kate Mara in the 2011 indie "Happythankyoumoreplease." Credit: Matt Marks / Anchor Bay