She comes from two football dynasties, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Giants, but actress Kate Mara won’t say which she favors. Steelers owner Art Rooney Sr. was her great-grandfather on her mother’s side. Her father’s family owns the Giants.
Her younger sister, Rooney Mara, earned an Oscar nomination for “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”
And the 30-year-old Kate Mara is burning up the small screen on Netflix’s “House of Cards.”
She has appeared in the films “We Are Marshall” and “Brokeback Mountain,” and is in “Transcendence” with Johnny Depp, coming out in April.
Season 2 of “House of Cards” will be available Friday on Netflix.
Q. “House of Cards” is addictive. When you took the role, did you sense it was going to be so popular?
A. When I take a role, I don’t necessarily think of it in that way. I was just thrilled to be working with David Fincher and the cast.
You know, Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are two people that I’ve always wanted to work with. The expectation of it doing well and that sort of thing was just the cherry on top.
Q. Do you remember the first audition that had you shaking in your boots?
A. One of my first auditions ever was for the television show “Homicide: Life on the Streets.” I think I was like 14 or something. I remember it because I think it was the first thing besides theater that I auditioned for.
I didn’t get the job, but I did get the bug as soon as I left that audition.
Q. Are you as comfortable doing the whole talk show circuit or is that a different animal for you?
A. Yeah, for sure, those things make me very, very nervous. You get used to it and you definitely get better at it, you know, as you do more and more.
You are supposed to be performing but as yourself. It feels exposing. I’m certainly not a comedian.
I would much rather go on and be playing somebody else.
Q. You have played a lot of characters over the years. Were there any that you just didn’t really like?
A. Honestly, no. Nothing comes to mind, and it’s not as though I’ve only played likable people. I was on “American Horror Story” and played a very unlikable character (laughing). But I had the best time playing her.
Q. So how do you describe your character on “House of Cards?”
A. I would describe Zoe Barnes as a very, very strong-willed, ambitious, ballsy reporter who is very smart but also has a lot of growing up to do.
Q. Any sibling rivalry, especially with Rooney?
A. I don’t think of my sister as somebody I am competing with. She and I are only two years apart, so growing up we were best of friends.
We can really share the ups and downs.