By Joe McGovern
Updated February 02, 2016 at 12:00 PM EST
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Dominique Charriau/WireImage

One of the Bible’s most complex, introspective women is about to be portrayed by one of Hollywood’s most complex, introspective actresses. Rooney Mara is in talks to play Mary Magdalene, the often-misrepresented follower of Jesus Christ. Often a secondary role in narratives focusing on Christ, Magdalene has been played by Monica Bellucci (The Passion of the Christ) and Barbara Hershey (The Last Temptation of Christ).

Mara earned an Oscar nomination in 2012 for her vigorous performance as the goth programmer Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. She’s currently nominated again for her heartbreaking role as a young woman experiencing love for the first time in Todd Haynes’ Carol.

The untitled Magdalene biopic will be directed by Top of the Lake helmer Garth Davis, whose first film, the Calcutta-set drama Lion, is scheduled to open in 2016 and stars Mara and Nicole Kidman.

“Rooney’s raw, brave approach to performances, coupled with her deeply magnetic inner life, holds all the dimensions needed to bring to life one of history’s most misunderstood woman,” Davis told Deadline, which first reported the news. “Having worked with Rooney on Lion, I know she is a once in a lifetime talent.”

Mara recently wrapped Una, an adaptation of David Harrower’s play, Blackbird, also featuring Ben Mendelsohn. And she is still awaiting release (and still recording voiceover tracks) for Terrence Malick’s as-yet-untitled Austin-based music film, costarring Christian Bale and Michael Fassbender, which was filmed more than two years ago.

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