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Rooney Mara executes screen play

Actress Rooney Mara arrives for the world premiere

Actress Rooney Mara arrives for the world premiere of her latest film "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" in Leicester Square in London. (Dec. 12, 2011) Credit: Getty

Rooney Mara's name has a ring to it – nine, to be exact, if you combine the Steelers' and Giants' Super Bowl victories – but that didn't necessarily translate into football fandom in her childhood.

"I guess I really resented it, the actress told CBS' David Letterman, remembering going from church to Giants Stadium, wearing "itchy tights and a dress while other fans wore sweatpants and ate hot dogs.

But that was the price of being a member of two famous football families, a great-granddaughter of both Giants founder Tim Mara and Steelers founder Art Rooney.

"I think she figured she was being dragged to the game, and she doesn't like to do anything she doesn't want to do," her father, Chris, the Giants' vice president for player evaluation, said with a laugh. "But she sucked it up. She enjoys it much more now.

Rooney, 26, said she does appreciate her football connections more now. Alas, there isn't much time for Sunday afternoon games in the family suite anymore.

She is based in Los Angeles, like her older sister Kate, who also is an actress. And come Tuesday she will become one of the most recognizable young faces in Hollywood when the much-anticipated movie, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, opens nationally.

Even for a family used to the limelight, it is a jarring moment, given both the expected popularity of the film and some of the disturbing scenes involving Mara's character, Lisbeth Salander.

Regarding the former, her father said, "I've walked down a lot of red carpets in the last 13 years and after-parties. I am getting used to it. But the stage is a little bit bigger right now.

As for the latter, Chris said he and his wife Kathleen, sensitive to the nature of the material, arranged for their combined 14 siblings and their spouses to have a private screening last week.

"There was a little tenseness in the crowd, but everyone came out of it," he said, adding that after reading the book series and seeing the Swedish film version, he loved the film. "It's a little rough on the eyes but done so well, and everything in it was necessary to make it.

Chris said Kate is a bigger football fan than her sister, seeing perhaps half the Giants games live, the rest on television. But he said Rooney follows the team more than she lets on.

How well does she know the sport?

"She knows the basics," Chris said.

Rooney actually is the actress' middle name. The family calls her Trish, short for Patricia. Using the venerable, memorable football name professionally was a marketing masterstroke.

Said her father: "She used her NYU education to pull that one off.

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