Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is now in its record-breaking 22nd season. Over the years, many actors, both famous and up-and-coming have made guest appearances on the crime drama. But for one actor who landed a part on the series early on in her career, the experience didn’t impress her much. In fact, she had some harsh things to say about it.
The enduring popularity of ‘Law & Order: SVU’
Rolling Stone reports that since its debut in 1999, Law & Order: SVU has developed a devoted following. Starring Mariska Hargitay as the tough but caring Captain Olivia Benson, the show describes itself as featuring stories “ripped from the headlines.” The plots are loosely based on actual sex crimes that have gotten media attention. For 22 seasons, the show has continued to draw an audience.
Given that the drama focuses on sex crimes, some people find it surprising how enthusiastic fans are about a show that explores a subject that many people have a hard time discussing openly. But that may be why it continues to be so popular.
“At first, I was overwhelmed,” Hargitay once explained about the early days of the show. “Many survivors were disclosing their abuse [to me] for the first time, and many shared how the show had given them a new strength, the will to fight for their own justice, or simply the community of shared experience.”
Over the years, many actors have jumped at the chance to make guest appearances on the program, including stars such as Brooke Shields, Hayden Panettiere, Elizabeth Banks, and John Ritter. But for one star who landed a guest spot when she was still largely unknown, the opportunity didn’t seem that great.
Rooney Mara appeared in Season 7
According to The Famous People, Rooney Mara was born in New York in 1985. She was interested in acting from a young age, and she finally overcame her nervousness to try it when she was a freshman in high school. That gamble seemed to pay off, because she landed the role of Juliet in her school’s production of Romeo and Juliet.
Her first big role as an adult came in 2006 when she landed a part on Law & Order: SVU. In the episode, called “Fat,” she played a woman who, along with her boyfriend, violently attacked overweight people. The motive for the violence was that she had been obese and harbored a deep loathing for overweight people.
After that role, Mara’s career started to pick up steam. She appeared in several movies, including A Nightmare On Elm Street and The Social Network. But it was her starring role in 2011’s Girl With the Dragon Tattoo that catapulted her into international fame. During her press tour promoting that film, however, Mara made some comments about her Law & Order part that surprised people.
The episode was “so stupid”
In an interview with Allure, Mara seemed to speak out against the show that was one of her stepping stones to success.
“It was so awful. So stupid. People are obsessed with that show. I don’t get it,” she said. “Me and my boyfriend—although I don’t look old enough to have a boyfriend—went and beat up these fat people, and at the end of the show you find out that I used to be obese and I hate fat people. It’s ridiculous. Who would ever do that? Who would beat someone up because they’re fat?”
Unsurprisingly, people were taken aback by the harsh comments about the popular show. According to E Online, Mara later tried to walk back her comments.
“That was my first job,” she insisted. “It couldn’t have been more exciting for me. It’s an experience I hold very dear to my heart.”
Clearly, both Law & Order: SVU and Mara have weathered the controversy around her comments. Fans of the long-running crime drama and the successful actress aren’t surprised that they did.
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