Featured Profile: Mia Wasikowska

Emily Woods / November 22, 2013 02:27 PM

It did not take long but Mia Wasikowska is already one of the brightest stars in the film industry.

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Actress and director Mia Wasikowska. Photo credit: The Turning website

The 24-year-old Canberran has truly conquered the big screen and a close look at her achievements reveals she is only going from strength to strength.

2013 has been a mammoth year for the starlett, starring in four films and making her directorial debut.

But her humble roots, in Belconnen ACT, have kept her grounded.

"I've watched almost everything I've done and my immediate reaction is, 'I don't know why I was cast,'" she told Good Weekend.

"[Watching myself] isn't a pleasurable experience."

Wasikowska is the chameleon of the film industry. She is able to morph from a 19th century feminist herione in Jane Eyre, to a hipster vampire in Only Lovers Left Live.

The Hollywood Reporter calls her "a Canberra native who jumped virtually out of nowhere into a blossoming career built on consistently interesting choices."

The diversity of her roles and her incredible knack for acting have helped Wasikowska achieve recognition in Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world, twice.

So it is fitting that she is in the 2013 edition of Who’s Who in Australia.

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Mia Wasikowska played Joni in The Kids are Alright. Photo credit: Official trailer

But how did the girl from Belconnen fall into such a difficult industry?

Ballet was her first foray into creative arts. Wasikowska started lessons at eight and dreamed of becoming a ballerina.

By the time she hit her teens she was practicing for 35 hours a week.

“I loved the expression of it and I loved that whole-of-body experience and the feeling it gives you,” she told GoodWeekend.

But when Ballet became more about her weight than her dancing, she decided a change was in order.

At 14 she decided to quietly try and break into acting.

“In my mind, I had decided on this, but I didn’t want the pressure of people knowing that’s what I wanted to do,” she said.

So she started cold calling acting agents in Sydney.

It was easier than expected and she found roles almost straightaway.

The first was a small television part on Channel Seven’s All Saints, followed by the role of Lilya in the 2006 Australian film Suburban Mayhem.

The film was a hit among critics and she was nominated for a Young Actor’s AFI Award.

In 2008 Wasikowska landed her virst role overseas in the American HBO television drama series, In Treament (watch Mia Wasikowska play Sophie in a powerful scene).

After that people began to sit up and notice the young Australian and the roles started pourring in.

Wasikowska's raw talent was recognised and soon Tim Burton casted her as Alice in his adaption of Alice in Wonderland.

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Mia Wasikowska played Alice in Alice in Wonderland. Photo credits: Flickr, Leah Gallo

And ever since she has not stopped.

At the 2013 Toronto Film Festival she had three films: Tracks, Only Lovers Left Alive and Double.

Wasikowska also managed to squeeze in her first film in the director's chair.

She directed one of the short films in the Australian film The Turning, an adaption of Tim Winton's collection of short stories.

Long, clear view is "A portrait of Vic Lang's younger years. His peculiar habits, social anxieties and fixation on his father's rifle", according to The Turning website.

The young actress/director said the story really stuck out to her.

"I was interested in the perspective of a young person and the way their imagination can heighten things and change the reality of instances in our lives,” she told The Turning website.

In the beginning Wasikowska compensated her lack of experience with a quiet diligence and intelligence which sets her a part from other young beginners.

She is intruiged by the world around her and her down-to-earth mentality shines through.

"I've always been fascinated with trying to understand people," she told Good Weekend.

"I never like to judge anybody because I think if you could just stick with someone for long enough, you'd start to understand why they are the way they are."

Wasikowska's achievements, films and lists of acting and directing colleagues, is enough to make anyone envious. But she is so deserving of all of the praise she has garnered.

Glenn Close, who starred with Wasikowsa in Albert Nobbs, told Time Magazine Mia was like "a sun".

"She generates her own energy. She's seductive because she's not compelled to reveal everything. Her shyness has made her an acute observer. At the same time, she loves a good joke, loves to laugh and can suddenly have the boisterous physicality of a teenager. Mia will be many things in life and will defy expectation because she's brilliant and curious and not fooled by what most people define as success. I will relish her journey and only hope she will be in my life for a very long time."

Her future stardom shines bright.

Sources: Good Weekend, IMDB, The Turning Website, Time Magazine, The Huffington Post, The TIFF website, The Hollywood Reporter.

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