Girl With The Dragon Tattoo: How make-up artist transformed Rooney Mara

Red smoky eyes and bleached brows: How fashion”s favourite make-up artist transformed Rooney Mara into the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Legendary make up artist Pat McGrath had probably painted the face of every supermodel and celebrity when David Fincher came knocking on her door with a job proposal.

The job To transform the porcelain-faced Rooney Mara into a stone-cold punk computer hacker from Stockholm as the protagonist of the Swedish thriller.

Ms McGrath recalls telling Mr Fincher at the beginning of the process: “Once we bleach her brows and dye her hair black, you’ll see—she’ll look threatening and otherworldly.


Who”s that girl: Rooney Mara, barely recognizable, as Lisbeth Salander

“She’ll become this dark, androgynous, and mysterious loner.”

Keeping the look minimal, as a real tomboy would, the famous make-up artist focused mainly on shaping the eyes with smoky shadow and bare skin.

“The trick was to take black and brown eye colors and add a tiny drop of red—that created a look that was vulnerable but hard and strong.

“We came up with about 200 different versions of this reddish smoky eye with many different dimensions,” she explained.

For Ms McGrath, whowas hailed as the most influential make up artist in the world by Voguein 2007, getting creative and experimental was always going to be part of the process.

Punk detective: McGrath gave Mara a black crop and bleached white brows

Punk detective: McGrath gave Mara a black crop and bleached white brows

Admitting her excitement on meeting Mara she said, “As soon as I saw her bone structure and her skin, I knew that I could take her look in somany different directions.”

Magician: McGrath created 200 looks for Mara

Magician: McGrath created 200 looks for Mara”s tough-as-nails character

The make-up genius and director worked closely together to create Salander”s look, a process about which Ms McGrath enthused.

“David had a camera and hewas taking pictures.

“It was about experimenting and letting go. We spent hours morphing and changing Rooney’s look, playing with ideas.”

Coming from a background in fashion where one look is repeated over and over again and the character of a show or model depends on the shoe or outfit, this was a new approach for Ms McGrath.

And the famous cosmetics maven wasn”t the only one to enjoy herself either.

“Rooney,she loved it!” She explained. “She really enjoyed it, the whole process. She handled the piercings, shaving her hair short – she just embraced the character.”

The thriller, that stars Ms Rooney alongside Daniel Craig, opens today nationwide and will no doubt be a box office favourite over the holidaysamong fans of Stieg Larsson”s intriguing heroine.