'Jane Eyre' Star Mia Wasikowska on Keeping It Classy and Losing Her Accent
By Nicki Gostin Posted Mar 11th 2011 11:39AM
Mia Wasikowska, the ethereal Australian actress, is barely out of her teens yet already has a resume that people twice her age would envy. In the last couple of years she was Alice in Tim Burton's 'Alice in Wonderland' and Joni in 'The Kids Are All Right.' Now she's starring in a movie version of the classic brooding and romantic Charlotte Bronte novel, 'Jane Eyre.' PopEater spoke with Wasikowska about her uncanny streak of classy roles, taking pointers from Judi Dench and how the 'Twilight' phenom owes a lot to Bronte.
Had you read 'Jane Eyre' before you did the movie?
I was reading the book in the middle of 2009 before I knew any project was on the horizon. I was half way through it, and I emailed my agent, "This is fantastic, is there a script around, or is it being developed?" Nothing was there at the time, but two months later she e-mailed me the script, and I met with Cary (Fukunaga, the director). It was really good timing.
Wow, I'll say so!
I know! The chances of it actually happening were so small, so it was kind of amazing.
Did you give Judi Dench pointers?
(Laughs) I wish. It's the other way round. The good thing is these big stars instantly put you off guard and make it so easy to relax and just hang out with them. You realize they're so much like you. I've never had a bad experience with anyone.
For sure and that's what I liked what Cary wanted to do with it, bring out the darker side of the novel. It's a really gothic story. It's not really a bonnet drama. I really love period dramas that aren't afraid to show the darkness.
Your accent is very mixed.
I know. I go home and people are like, "Where are you from?"
Do your friends give you s**t?
Uh yeah. I've spent so much time here in the States and London in the last few years. Since I was 16 I've been back and forth.
Did you finish high school?
I did. I was cast in 'In Treatment' when I was 16 and from then on I did school correspondence. I haven't enrolled yet in uni. I'd really like to study art history. I think I need to know a bit more about history, and it would be good to learn it through art. A lot of filmmakers I admire have a background in visual arts.
I was looking at your resume; it's one classy movie after another.
Awesome, thank you. It's great, I've been so lucky. I've also been lucky to have portrayed teenagers and young people who resemble something of what it's like being a young person rather than the usual cliché.
Which movie was the one where you were like, 'Oh my God I can't believe I'm in this'?
I've been a fan of Gus Van Sant's since I was a teenager. My mum used to show me his movies, and they changed my perspective on filmmaking. When I walked into an audition room with him I was thinking, this is great! Even auditioning for him is cool and then to work on his film ('Restless') was beautiful. That was definitely a dream for me and of course Alice which was a big deal.
Favorite TV show when you were a kid?
I was dancing like crazy when I was a teenager, so I didn't really watch TV. But when I was little we lived in Poland for a year, and we had Cartoon Network which was amazing.
It must be hard to make friends and know if they are genuine.
Yeah, for sure. I've got friends at home that I've known for a long time, and they're wonderful. One came to hang out with me on the Alice set so that was nice having someone familiar around.
Do you get treated like a big celeb when you go back home?
Nooo, I still take the rubbish out and empty the dishwasher. It's good going back for that reason.
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