There was quite a discussion in the Rooney Mara comment section the other day all about the expectation of people smiling on the red carpet, even if that’s not exactly who they are — should they feel pressured to sell themselves a certain way, what if they’re just nervous, is the world imposing too much of a standard on them, and so forth. There are a lot of good points all around to be made. I’m sure my record of late is not perfect, but I’ve personally tried to back off discussing that unless it’s very CLEARLY the person’s personal peccadillo, like how J.Lo assumes her same Business Face in every red carpet picture, or there’s a riff to be made that ties back to the buzz around a particular movie (feuds, bad reviews, etc) or the outfit (does she hate it). Maybe you could argue that selling the movie and looking excited to do so is, technically, part of the actors being On The Job. Ditto looking excited to be wearing the free clothes. Both are valid things to wonder. But, maybe a person has anxiety (as Rose Byrne admitted to doing), or just didn’t anticipate that part of it being so imposing, or feels like barfing, or had a rough day for personal reasons. That’s ALSO worth considering. Or maybe there’s a person who’s super smiley and personable in interviews and then quickly slips into Stern Face on the red carpet, in a way that makes you wonder if it’s been coached into them (see: Ginnifer Goodwin). I don’t have any answers for the world at large, but in the interest of fairness to Rooney — who took it on the chin in the comments for being sour-faced — here she is on Late Night With Seth Meyers looking delighted to be alive.
The pictures of her doing the interview are similarly charming. She looks relaxed, happy, carefree. So maybe her handlers told her that Serious Actors Make Serious Faces on the red carpet. Maybe someone once gave her an (unnecessary) complex about how she photographs when she’s grinning. Maybe it’s just her Thing with herself, like how I wish I could hide my forehead inside a bag. Or maybe she had a headache. Maybe she snaps into Dragon Tattoo mode because those events are when she first rose to fame, and she felt people expected life to imitate art. Who knows. But she’s clearly not a grim person; she seems quite lovely. In fact, other than the booties — which you sadly can’t really see because they blend in with the floor — I think this whole outfit is a win. And if someone ever DID make her self-conscious about smiling in photographs, that person is CRAZY and should be sat in a corner for a day to think about what they’ve done.