6 Wonders of Alice- An Interview With Mia Wasikowska-#ThroughTheLookingGlassEvent
When Mia Wasikowska, who is returning to her role of Alice in Disney’s Through The Looking Glass opening everywhere May 27, was 15 she decided to pursue acting, She had heard that you had to have an agent to do film and television, so she did what any 15 year old would do – a Google search for acting agencies in Sydney.
As she tells it “My mom remembers a period when I locked myself in my room and did research and made phone calls and wrote letters to try to get an agent. I hounded one to take me on and started auditioning,” and the rest as they say is history.
Tim Burton cited Wasikowska’s “old-soul quality” as a catalyst in casting her: “Because you’re witnessing this whole thing through her eyes, it needed somebody who can subtly portray that.” Monday, right before the Hollywood premiere of Disney’s Through The Looking Glass, I had the chance to sit down and talk to the soft-spoken, light hearted actress about what it was like to revisit the role of Alice and journey back to Wonderland.
Ever Wondered What It’s Like To Step Back Into the Role Of Alice?
“It was great. I really love Alice and I like seeing her journey. I think in the first film, she was kind of still a little uncomfortable and trying to bridge that gap between knowing who she was on the inside and then being able to be that on the outside and I think that was sort of her journey in the first film. In this film, she’s just spent two years as the captain of her own ship, and she has a really strong sense of who she is. She comes back into this story with a really strong sense of that, and despite the fact that the expectations of her are really low in her society, she manages to sort of hold on to that sense of being worth more than what people want of her, which I think is really great and important for young girls and boys, obviously, everywhere.”
Have You Wondered What Mia Thinks About Alice As A Role Model & Her Take Charge Attitude?
“Alice seems to have this innate sense of who she is and even though she’s got all these challenges and people always kind of questioning her, she manages to hold on to that really strong sense of herself so that even when she goes to the ball with the oriental costume she just doesn’t even seem to notice the judgment coming off of everybody else, and that sort of just seems to roll off her back. I guess just that sense of not caring so much about what other people think is really important. She doesn’t have that sense of like femininity being like a restriction to her and yet she still manages to be feminine and connected to that side of her without that kind of compromising anything. I like to think you can kind of like have both and not in a way where it’s limiting to be a woman or to enjoy certain aspects of that. And I have to say that I definitely like to go for comfort over sort of style, like her I guess.”
“And as for being an actual role model. It’s really great. I mean, it’s not something I ever considered until I was doing a film and then you see that it has an impact on people. It’s not something that I really ever thought about until after the fact, but I’m excited for this film because I think for all sorts of reasons we’ve come a long way and especially in terms of in this film we’re making, we’re kind of satirizing the idea of female hysteria, which only a hundred years ago was a very big step to be able to say that this is so obviously ridiculous, whereas it was not so long ago where it was so serious. There’s obviously a long way to go before things are entirely equal, but I’m excited that slowly it’s more normal that there’s a lead character in a big summer movie that’s a female, and such a feisty one and it’s not that she’s not in a way just a love interest. It’s just around being a friend and a loyal person and I think that’s really important.”
Ever Wondered Who Her Favorite Relationships In the Film Are?
“I like a few of them. I do like the relationship with Alice and Time. I think Sacha plays a confident idiot very well. He’s like this old powerful loser in a way and that Alice is the only one that kind of isn’t scared enough to pull him out on how he just doesn’t make any sense at all. I like that she sort of has no fear in approaching anyone, but especially him, because he’s gotten such a strong ego. Working with Sacha was just very entertaining. Every day was something completely different and I would say he’s very ambitious and, and, very, very smart and really funny.”
“I also really like the scenes with the Hatter. I mean, when you’re filming a film like this and it’s green screen for five months, you spend a lot of time, running around and jumping around. And so obviously the more enjoyable days were when it was those really lovely scenes between the two of us and that was really nice. Working with Johnny was great the second time around because I knew him before and with all the cast I had like that level of familiarity with them and that was really nice. We all sort of knew each other and that always helps stepping into a project like this, which is quite abstract. He’s such a wonderful person, such a lovely, sensitive person and I love that he’s so kind and creative. I mean, all his characters are very, very different, but they’re also distinctly his own characters.”
Have You Wondered What It’s Like Bringing The Books To Life?
“I think the great thing about the books is that you can read them at any stage in your life and they mean a completely different thing. I think kids see stuff in it that adults don’t and vice versa. I like that the books lend themselves to many different interpretations and I hope if anything all these interpretations bring people back to the original source material. I think it is nice when someone says we’re all mad here or like the crazy, the people who are most if you’re bonkers, you’re good because all the best people are, or are something. I think that’s really comforting and great.”
Have you Wondered What Her Favorite Quote From The Movie Is?
“There’s so many, but I do like the message of time also, how you can’t change the past but you can learn from it, and I think that’s so important, even though we kind of know that, I think really deeply understanding that it is really the best way to live your life and be in the moment; to accept what’s happened in the past and move on into the future openly and not be fixated on trying to change something that’s already happened, which I feel like we can get a bit caught up in.”
Have You Wondered What She’d Like To Do In The Future?
“What I like about film is it explores imperfections. That was something that really attracted me. I really love doing things that are different and challenge me in different ways. And I think to remain interested and excited by acting it’s really great to have such diverse opportunities, and I feel really lucky that I’ve been able to do that so far. It’s never been about the blockbusters and making a huge ton of money. It’s always been about wanting to do projects about the things that I think are important to be out there, because there’s a lot of stuff that probably doesn’t need to be. I would love to do maybe some comedy or something. I think it’s really hard to find a good comedy. I think there’s a million great dramas every year but comedies maybe are a tiny bit harder to find one that feels really great and funny. I would like to explore that.”
Warm, smart, thoughtful and genuine, it is easy to see what Tim Burton saw in her. Tomorrow, grab the family and journey to Wonderland as Mia Wasikowska reprises her iconic role in Disney’s Alice Through the Looking Glass, the exciting follow-up to Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland directed by James Bobin. It’s time to go through the looking glass as we return to the magical world of Underland and travel back in time to rescue the Mad Hatter. Based on the beloved stories by Lewis Carroll, screenwriter Linda Woolverton has crafted a strong female character that’s on a very personal journey and I can’t imagine any other actor more perfect for the role than Mia Wasikowska.
Stay tuned tomorrow as we share with you what lessons we learned from seeing Disney’s Alice Through The Looking Glass
To Read About What It Was Like To Be On The Red Carpet for the Premiere of Disney’s Alice Through The Looking Glass click here
Alice Through The Looking Glass opens Everywhere May 27th!
Keep Up With All Of The Latest from Alice Through The Looking Glass
“In a Wonderland they lie, Dreaming as the days go by, Dreaming as the summers die: Ever drifting down the stream- Lingering in the golden gleam- Life, what is it but a dream?” ― Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
Disclosure: I have been invited by Disney to cover this media event. All material and expenses for this event have been provided courtesy of Walt Disney Studios but all opinions my own.