Friday, 5 March 2010

Alice In Wonderland week: Mia Wasikowska Q&A

Mia Wasikowska plays the title character in Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland. I spoke to the delightful and talented Australian actress on set. Here's part of my interview with her.

Were you a fan of the book?

Definitely. I read the book when I was little and I also read the book again when I started auditioning. And it was cool to come back to it and see these different things when I was older than when I was younger. But it’s the sort of book you can always read and every time you get something else from. It’s constantly giving.

What did you get the second time?

It was a different feel in a way. It kind of felt in the best way like a delirious dream, where nothing makes sense, the way your body processes your mind when you’re semi unconscious, that’s what I found the second time I read it.

Your Alice is older than in the books. How did you go about playing her?

I’m obviously not playing a seven-year-old Alice, and I wanted to make her seem real to teenagers and young adults, so we really did go for what she would be feeling in the beginning of the film and throughout the film, a lot of grief and loneliness. She would be grumpy and tired at the beginning, so we wanted to play with that. That also gives her somewhere to go. So that she can really build up the strength of who she is.

How has it been working with Tim Burton?

It’s been incredible. I think Tim is an amazing artist and a very visual person. He’s very in the moment. We didn’t do a whole lot of rehearsals before we started filming, which worked really well for the film because it’s lots of little spontaneous moments and they’re kind of quick encounters, so it really helps kept it fresh that we haven’t drilled it with rehearsals. And it’s really fun to get into a scene with another actor and be surprised by what they’re doing.

Were you familiar with any other film versions of Alice?

I had seen a few versions of Alice but my mum used to make me and my brother and my sister watch the Jan Svankmajer version. We watched a lot of arthouse films when we were little and that was one she would show us, and we would kind of sit there kind of freaked out but really intrigued. I remember we would watch it kind of over and over again. I think it’s really incredible.

How have you found the technical challenge of working with the green-screen?

The green-screen is hard. I feel like I’ve gotten used to it right now but the first day we started the green screen stuff it was like the most green the studio’s ever been, the curtain was almost all the way around, and there were people in the green suits and because they were supposed to be animals, the readers had eyeballs where there actual height would be. So there would be a man standing in a full green suit and he’d have two eyeballs here [she points to her waist] which is where I supposed to look, and I had no idea how I could actually do that, but it’s good, it’s fine.

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