Eager to keep the critical momentum from Carol trucking along – for which she won the coveted actress award at the Cannes Film Festival in May – Rooney Mara’s next picture is for Benedict Andrews’ “intense, unflinching” love drama, Una. Previously titled Blackbird up until a recent switcheroo, the film marks the directorial debut for Andrews, who has carved out a career working on stage drama up until this point.
In the film, Mara – known for eye-catching turns in David Fincher’s The Social Network and English-language Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – stars opposite Ben Mendelsohn as a young, wide-eyed woman. Attracting the attention of Mendelsohn’s Ray, Mara’s humble protagonist shows up into his life unannounced, digging up past memories that he believed to have been long buried in the sand. What follows is a passionate, yet illicit affair, one which leaves Ray in jail and Mara’s Una on the search for answers.
David Harrower penned the screenplay. Lifting inspiration from his award-winning play, Una is pitched as an exploration of a relationship that is considered to be outright taboo. That should be familiar territory for Mara, given the narrative set-up of the aforementioned Carol, albeit with different genders and set against a different time period. No matter, because there’s certainly plenty of dramatic potential to pull from ahead of Andrews’ feature debut.
Starring alongside Mara and Mendelsohn are Tara Fitzgerald and Bourne 5 newcomer Riz Ahmed. Having set up production earlier in the summer in the south of England, Una is quietly marching forward toward a 2016 release, with a Cannes or TIFF premiere potentially on the docket.