08/29/2013 09:31 am ET Updated Aug 29, 2013

Rooney Mara Replaces Mia Wasikowska In 'Carol,' Playing Cate Blanchett's Love Interest In The Todd Haynes Movie


Any actor or actress who turns down the opportunity to star as Cate Blanchett's love interest is a mystery to us, so count Mia Wasikowska as the newest Hollywood enigma. The "Jane Eyre" actress has bowed out of the lesbian love-affair drama "Carol," with Rooney Mara stepping in to replace her, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"Carol," directed by Todd Haynes ("Far From Heaven" and "I'm Not There"), depicts an unhappily married woman in 1950s New York (Blanchett) who longs to leave her husband behind but fears losing her daughter. She falls for a department-store employee who also pines for a better life (Mara).

The movie is based on the novella "The Price of Salt," by "The Talented Mr. Ripley" scribe Patricia Highsmith. The script comes from Phyllis Nagy (HBO's "Mrs. Harris"), with production slated to begin in spring 2014.

The new casting choice reduces the age gap between the two leads, not that that was the intent. Highsmith's story specifically introduces an age-defying love affair, emphasizing the different backgrounds these two characters come from. Blanchett's 44 years may seem like slightly less of a chasm now that the 28-year-old Mara is taking over for 23-year-old Wasikowska.

“We're over the moon to have Rooney on board," Haynes said. "I've been a tremendous admirer of her work from the beginning, so the thought of bringing her together with Cate onscreen is thrilling to say the least.”

"Carol" marks the second time Blanchett will work with Haynes. The first came in 2007 for her Oscar-nominated turn as Bob Dylan in "I'm Not There."

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