It’s been a long, tiring week and I’m pretty spent right now.
But I do something very exciting this morning. I had a chance to interview rising Aussie star Mia Wasikowska, star of the upcoming Alice In Wonderland movie. I’ve been watching her over the past few weeks on the In Treatment television series and I can assure you all that she has a bright future.
Thanks must go to Spencer Howson and the 612 ABC team for organising the interview. You can listen to it here on the ABC Breakfast Blog or download it directly from my website here.
Incidentally, I now have all my ABC spots for 2010 podcasted and you can download them from the front page of my website. If you’re too lazy to read my reviews, now you can just listen to them!
But for those without sound (and to help get a few more Google hits), here’s an abbreviated transcript (without all the ums and ahs) of what Mia had to say…
Matt: We’ve had so many great actors come out of this country but a lot of them never quite make it in Hollywood but now, she’s only 20 years of age but you’ll be hearing a lot over the next few years from Mia Wasikowska. She started out five years ago on All Saints, appeared in a few Aussie films like Suburban Mayhem and Rogue and I first noticed her in a brilliant HBO drama called In Treatment, which you’ve got to see, of course now she’s the lead actress in a Tim Burton movie – Alice In Wonderland - with an incredible cast and a $250m budget! Mia, thanks for joining us here on 612ABC this morning.
Mia: Yeah, thank you for having me.
Matt: You’ve got to tell me Mia – how did all of this happen? How did a girl from Canberra end up with a dream role in Alice In Wonderland?
Mia: When I was about 14 or 15 I became very interested in film and sought out how I could be a part of it. I ended up joining an agency in Sydney and then going out for auditions and that’s how it began.
Spencer: Did you audition for this role or are you at a stage where they come to you?
Mia: No, I auditioned for Alice. I sent off a video audition in February 2008 and then towards the end of the year ended up doing another couple of auditions with Tim and that’s how I got the role.
Matt: The first time I saw this title I thought ok, it’s an adaptation of Alice and Wonderland but I’ve heard it’s not quite so. What exactly is the film about?
Mia: Well in this film, Alice is 19 and she’s returning to Wonderland and she’s at a different stage in her life than the Alice in the storybooks. It’s sort of her journey back to Wonderland and finding herself amongst all these crazy characters.
Matt: Working with Tim Burton… I think he’s such a great director but all his films are so quirky like Edward Scissorhands and Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. I keep thinking he must have the most warped sense of humour but what’s he actually like to work with?
Mia: He’s such a wonderful person. A really lovely guy. As an actor you feel a lot of trust from him and he’s very collaborative and open to suggestions and ideas and it’s really nice to work with someone who’s like that. He has such a creative energy that he’s always pouring into his work.
Matt: So much of this film has been put together with digital effects and of course it’s being released in 3D in some cinemas. What sort of challenges does that throw up working with so many special effects?
Mia: It’s a very strange way to make a film. It was three months of green screen and every scene you see me in with an animated character, it obviously wasn’t there, so I was looking at a tennis ball or sticky tape or a cardboard cut-out. It presents you with its own set of challenges making a film that way.
Spencer: What about the 3D thing? Are you conscious of that when you’re filming the movie?
Mia: Sometimes. It just becomes quite technical and sometimes it changes the way that you shoot a scene but it wasn’t too intrusive.
Spencer: It wasn’t filmed with 3D cameras this one, was it?
Mia: Yeah, that’s right. The 3D was in post production so yeah, it wasn’t too hard.
Matt: Have you had a chance to see the finished film yet? How it’s all come together…
Mia: I haven’t actually. I’ll be excited to see what it looks like.
Matt: Is there one of those big gala premieres somewhere that you get to get dressed up and go to?
Mia: Yes, in a couple of weeks, in London so that should be exciting.
Matt: A London premiere… exciting! Do you have to go all over the world over the next month to help promote the film?
Mia: We’ve been doing press in different cities but there aren’t so many screenings – I believe that’s the only one… in London.
Spencer: I’ve wondered about that. You haven’t seen the film yet but you sort of get the impression there’ll be the London premiere, the Disneyland premiere, the Sydney premiere… and by the end of it the last thing you’d want to do would be to see the film one more time.
Mia: Yes, I know, I know. This is kind of unusual in that way.
Spencer: Do you still live in Australia, Mia?
Mia: Yes, I do. I still live at home with my family.
Spencer: Is that right? With mum and dad?
Mia: Yes, I do. But I’m not there very often but as soon as I finish work I kind of run back home.
Spencer: Because you’ve got a slight American accent I think. I don’t mean to insult but I’m just pointing out the elephant in the room. Is it because you spend a lot of time with Americans?
Mia: I guess so. I’ve been on and off there since I was about 16 so, I’ve spent a lot of time there.
Matt: I’ve seen Mia in In Treatment and of course you have a beautiful American accent in that TV series.
Spencer: Can we just talk about that for a moment? I know we’re here to talk about Alice but Matthew’s been going on about this In Treatment show. He’s been watching episode after episode. I’ve never seen it.
Matt: Every episode – I call it like a Quentin Tarantino movie without the violence. It’s like a 30 minute conversation set completely in one room. Did they film it all in one shoot or does it take a long time to put that together?
Mia: Well each episode was shot over two days. It was about a 25 page script so we’d shoot 10 pages one day and then maybe 12 to 15 the next. Each day was cut into two halves so at the beginning of the day we’d do maybe 5 pages so yeah, it was wonderful. It was the most fun I’ve ever had with a character and I really loved the experimental nature of it.
Spencer: It’s set in a psychiatrists surgery, is it?
Matt: An office, yes.
Spencer: Has it been on the telly here?
Mia: I believe it might have been on a cable channel here. It has such a select audience but I would love it to come here on a wider scale.
Matt: Don’t worry Spencer, I’ll let you the DVDs.
Spencer: Ok, good, excellent. Well we should let you go because you’ve got lots of other people to talk to but March the 4th I believe is the release date.
Matt: One day before the U.S. too.
Mia: Ooo yeah. That’s right.
Spencer: Ah, is that so. We’re really leading edge here aren’t we. The last episode of Flash Forward went on the television here before it went on the TV in the States as well. Who’d have thunk? Here in little old Australia. Well, lovely to have you on the show this morning.
Mia: Thanks for having me.
That’s it from me for another 7 days. By the way, it’s a wonderful week of movies it is with Crazy Heart, The Hurt Locker and Shutter Island. You really must see them all! Good night!