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Posted May 06, 2010 to photo album "Mia Wasikowska"
Mia Wasikowska, one of the stars of Focus Features’ The Kids Are All Right, is one of the most exciting emerging actresses of the moment.
Down the Rabbit Hole
After her stunning arc on In Treatment, Wasikowska was sought after by producers and directors. She appeared opposite Daniel Craig in Edward Zwick’s World War 2 movie, Defiance, and played a young aviator in Mira Nair’s Amelia, but it would be her next part that would make her a worldwide star. With a budget estimated at almost $200 million, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland was a risky update of a classic children’s tale. For his movie, which was ported over to 3D during post-production, Burton updated the characters, returning a now-older Alice to the world of the Mad Hatter and the Red Queen she visited as a child. Burton auditioned dozens of young actresses for Alice until he settled on Wasikowska. Explained Burton about Wasikowska’s appeal, “I always like it when I sense people have that ‘old soul’ quality to them.” Indeed, from the beginning the actress had a mature take on Lewis Carroll’s work. While she remembers the books from when she was a child, a more memorable impression was made by another version of the tale. As she told the Times of London, “My other encounter with Alice was the Czech director Jan Svankmajer’s version, a stop-motion animated film, which is incredible. When we were kids, my mum would pop it in the VCR player. We would be disturbed, and wouldn’t really understand it, but we couldn’t look away because it was too intriguing. So I had kept that feeling about Alice, a kind of haunting feeling.” The film was a worldwide smash — less than two months after opening it grossed over $300 million worldwide. And while Burton’s 3D theatrics may have split the critics, they all were bewitched by Wasikowska. Wrote Rick Groen in Toronto’s Globe and Mail, “The true three-dimensionality here is the old-fashioned kind – Wasikowska’s fully rounded performance. Throughout the technical razzle-dazzle, we keep returning to the pallor of that face, the gravity in those eyes. She’s the ballast in all this free-floating imagination, giving the picture weight and ambiguity too – the near-woman in retreat from the impending world of Hamishes back to childhood’s fragile fancies.” Todd McCarthy, Variety’s veteran critic at the time, concurred, calling Wasikowska “an actress of willowy, Gwyneth Paltrowesque beauty but, more important here, of a pale but powerful resolve that confers upon the picture any gravity it may possess.”