Rooney Mara Didn't Eat Her First Pie Until Age 31

"I just don't really have a sweet tooth," the Ghost Story actress says

By Zach Johnson Jul 07, 2017 2:25 PMTags

Rooney Mara was pie-eyed while shooting A Ghost Story.

In a scene from the drama (in theaters now), Mara's grieving character devours an entire pie. As it turns out, it was the first time the actress ever allowed herself to try the sweet dessert. "It was certainly something that popped out at me when I read it, that was one of the things I was really excited to do. So, it doesn't surprise me that it's something that jumps out of the movie," she told The Los Angeles Times. "It was such a unique way of showing grief; we've never seen anything like that before. And I'd actually never had pie before. That was my first and last pie."

Uh, how does a 32-year-old woman go her entire life without ever trying pie?

"I asked that same question," director David Lowery told the newspaper.

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Allow her to explain. "I just don't really have a sweet tooth and I was a really, really strange, geeky child. Something about pie always grossed me out and I just never tried it before," said Mara, who grew up in the wealthy suburbs of Bedford, N.Y. "And this came along and I tried making them switch it to something else, but David really wanted it to be pie, so we did pie."

The scene was shot in the summer of 2016, and Mara ate a gluten-free, chocolate cream pie. Producer James Johnston brought in a few pies from the vegan restaurant chain Spiral Diner & Bakery that he and his wife own in Texas; Mara tried every one and picked the chocolate flavor.

"I wanted a representation of grief that we haven't seen before...that felt unique and uncomfortable and profound," Lowery said in a USA Today interview. "I thought about how sometimes when I'm upset, I just eat a lot. I thought that would be a really powerful image."

Mara's character vomits at the end of the mostly silent scene.

"In the script, the description was, 'She sits down and eats the entire thing.' It was just one line," Lowery said. "I told her, 'Try to eat the whole thing and when you can't eat any more, get up and run to the bathroom. You don't actually need to throw up. But if you need to, go for it.' It was up to her to bring the scene to an end at the time she thought was appropriate, and she knew what the emotional intent behind the scene was, so there wasn't a lot of talking about it."